Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goto Revisited

Spent the last weekday of my 2week break having a leisurely lunch at Goto. My blog is sorely lacking in updates, because I've just started another month of a super intense posting. The dishes here are prettily presented - so I dragged my fat camera out to take many many photos of the dishes, to do justice to the chef's artistic presentation.Starter
In the petal shaped cup, there's blanched spinach topped with bonito flakes, and in the white dish, yam with steamed egg. I quite liked the yam with steamed egg, which had a pale purple piece of yam encased within the soft egg custard.
In the front row, I had the fishcake with prawn, stewed eggplant and the Japanese green chilli (that usually comes out during autumn, tastes like a more pleasant version of capsicum), as well as a piece of sweet potato.
I tried eating the fern like thing on top of the fish cake, but it's really bitter and I don't think it's edible. The yellow petal on the left isn't edible (I asked the waitress).
Sashimi: Extremely fresh high quality sashimi - we had Hamachi (yellowtail), salmon, hirame (flounder) and scallop. The sashimi was excellent. The wasabi served here is fresh wasabi, and there's also some sliced spring onion mixed with shisho leaf.
Mashed lotus root with eel
I've never eaten lotus root in this form before, and I think the chef soakes it in some acidic solution because the lotus root was cream coloured, unlike the oxidized brown looking lotus roots I have with my soup.
The lotus root paste was quite sticky, but light flavour of the lotus root wasn't masked by any other sauces or flavourings.
I think I was taking too long to eat this dish (and snapping photos), because the next dish came out before I was done. Perhaps because it's tempura and it can't sit around waiting.
Tempura: with big prawn, ladies finger, Japanese yam wrapped in shisho leaf, sweet potato strips and pumpkin coated with black sesame seeds. I've only eaten the Japanese yam in the grated form, and it actually has quite a high water concent - it was crunchy, had a slight slimy taste and was juicier tan it looked. The sweet potato tempura was very interesting - thinly sliced strips of sweet potato in a cluster. I wonder how the chef gets the strips to stay together in the deep fryer. I liked the pumpkin which was coated in a thick layer of fragrant black sesame seeds.
Instead of the usual tempura dipping sauce, the tempura was served with some special salt (I asked the waitress what it was, and wrote it down, but I lost the piece of paper! :/)
Pickles - which I really didn't enjoy. To begin with, I don't particularly like Japanese pickles and I'll usually just take a bite off the yellow semicircular ones. I think the chef makes these pickles himself, so they aren't very salty. But they have this aftertaste which I really don't like. I did try to eat the pickled daikon but I really couldn't bring myself finish the pink pickle. The cabbage-leaf like pickle at the back was pretty bland, but crunchy.
Glutinous rice topped with chestnuts, ginko nuts and sprinkled with white sesame seeds. The glutious rice didn't have the oily taste or feeling, and the chestnuts had a delicate taste. Miso soup served together with the pickles and glutinous rice.
The waitress also gives us another kind of tea to drink once she served this dish. It tastes like chinese tea, but is not bitter at all. Perhaps it's supposed to aid digestion or something?
Trio of desserts - my favourite being the brown sugar ice cream. I like brown sugar and gula melaka lots, so I tried to make the little scoop of ice cream last longer by scraping at it and savouring its taste.
The fruits were garnished with a red autumn leaf (wonder where the chef gets it from?) which I didn't eat cos the last time I tried eating some red colour leaf it was really bitter and gross. Milk pudding came in a shot glass and was nice and creamy, but mine was more of a viscous liquid rather than a pudding.

I think I liked the dishes I had here the previous time better than the dishes I had during this lunch. Probably because I don't like some of the items on the menu (especially the PICKLES). Or maybe because I had much higher expectations this time compared to my first visit. It's $75 nett for a 6 course set lunch, and the chef chooses the dishes - so there's no menu. Good in that you'll be pleasantly suprised, and bad if you don't like eating certian dishes.
Hopefully, I'll be able to try their super expensive dinner in the near future... perhaps I will once I start working (and have no time to go on a holiday).
Goto Japanese Restaurant
14 Ang Siang Road

Tel: 6438 1553

Friday, October 23, 2009


Went to a kelong for the first (and probably the last) time in my life. Decided to be a bit more adventurous and brave the very basic living and toilets in a kelong. Although I actually wanted to go to Penang and eat all the delicious food, the air fare to Penang was $238 before taxes, and that's without accommodation.
A kelong is an off shore structure for fishing purposes, and I think there's none left in Singapore, so we had to go to Malaysia to see and stay in one.
Jetty - where we took our boat to the kelong. The place where we took the boat is a very ulu kampung - they have cows and chickens running around.
Fresh catch of the day - the fishes are quite big The kelong. It's actually quite a big place, with lots of different 'rooms' which can sleep around 15-20 people. The floor is all made up of wooden planks, and there's some little gaps (for people to drop mahjong tiles into:P) in between the tiles, but none which are wide enough to fall or loose your slipper through. The dining area is pictured on the top right hand corner, and it's like those tze char stall kind of table and plastic chairs. It's quite clean, except for the annoying flies swarm around during mealtime.
Bottom Left: A whole shelf of life jackets, in case the kelong sinks in a storm?
Bottom Right: Free flow drinks - filtered water, coffee, tea and orange juice.
Sleeping area - can probably sleep around 15 people comfortably. Fish thinks that it's like the foreign workers dormitory in Singapore. At least the bedsheets looked and felt clean. And the mattress wasn't those super thin kind where you'll ache after sleeping on your side.
There's at least 5 other huge rooms like this located all around the kelong, so I suppose they can accommodate a lot of people.Left: The many containers of rain water - which is used for washing and bathing.
Right: The net in the middle of the kelong - it's raised using a generator, and the fish in it are all scooped out using a net attached to a very long pole. At night, they will shine a very bright light over the net, and catch lots and lots of fish (apparently the light attracts the fish).
At night, the kelong is brightly lit, probably for the safety of the guests - the sea is pitch black and there arent any lights visible around the kelong (perfect setting for a ghost/horror story).
Lots and lots of small fishes in the sea around the kelong, but I think I'm too noob so the fishes all didn't want to eat my bait. Or maybe they were too full because the toilets all flush straight into the sea?? I don't want to know...
Sadly, I didn't manage to catch a single fish, and ended up playing lots of mahjong instead of trying to catch fishes. And I think we are all growing old and tired, so we slept from around midnight till nearly 9am the next day.
The TOILETS. Some of the sinks have taps, but then after a while, the water supply ran out, so we had to use pails of water to wash our hands. The water in the huge tub is used for bathing and flushing the toilet. There was lots of sediments inside, but the water on top is reasonably clean. Unfortunately, when I was bathing, the water level was pretty low, and at the end of my bath, I realized that the water I was bathing in was all brown and gross. It's like how people bathe during water rationing... I think you can request for hot water for your bath if you really want, and they will boil a hugeass kettle of hot water and pour it into the tub of rainwater.
Btw, there's a picture of the sitting toilet (middle picture) on their website. It's not too bad, not stinky but quite wet, since you have to scoop water to flush it.
At least the toilet drained (straight into the sea) quite well (read somewhere online that someone went to a kelong which had a toilet which didn't drain well, and she was standing in her bath water eeks!)... Now that I'm thinking about it, I think all the fishes in the sea have to swim in my shampoo, conditioner and soap... Luckily I didn't think so much when I was there, or I wouldn't have enjoyed my ikan kuning during breakfast.
Onto happier things: The FOOD. The food here is very simple - for lunch, we had some small fish in assam sauce, stir fried squid with onions and garlic, wintermelon soup, beansprouts and some chicken in black sauce.
We also had a teatime snack, which was yellow noodles stir fried with squid (didn't get a picture of this cos I was trying very unsuccessfully to fish).
Dinner was a huge steamed fish (don't know what kind of fish), omelets, prawns in spicy sauce, stir fried vegetables and fishball soup.
Actually, we were also supposed to have a seafood bbq (RM 25 extra per person), but somehow when we booked, the message wasn't relayed to the people in the kelong, so we didn't have a bbq in the end.
Supper was cheng teng.
Breakfast was nasi lemak, which was the best meal I had there. The rice had nice coconut fragrance, and the ikan kuning was crispy and tasted pretty fresh (compared to those over fried, extremely hard kind found in the pre-packed nasi lemak packets). I ate 4-5 pieces of ikan kuning, and after that, was extremely scared that I'll get some fecal-oral bacterial/viral transmission cos I'm pretty sure the fish was what they scooped up the night before.
Unless you're a hard core fisher, you should either know how to play mahjong, or be really enthusiastic about karaoke (especially all the oldies) before you go to a kelong. Cos there's nothing else to do there.
My many cat photos and a cow photo, which I took while waiting at the ulu kampong village next to the jetty, cos our bus driver took 1 hour to come and fetch us. And in the process, we probably got ripped off by the coffeeshop lady, who sold me a packet of milo for RM$2. Not sure if this is the real price of packet milo in Malaysia?
For 2D1N, we paid RM170 (including meals), and the transport from Singapore to the jetty was SGD$350 for 10 people (but since we had 9 we paid $39 per person). The kelong we stayed in is called Kelong Acheh, and is quite near Mersing.
I think that I'm quite glad to have seen a kelong cos it was an interesting experience, but I will definitely not want to stay in another kelong ever again. (I bet all the old people are going to say young people now a days live too cushy lives blablabla need to experience what they went through last time blablabla... if you want to live like how you lived in 1930 40 50s just migrate to North Korea cos they're stuck in a time warp...). Overall, my kelong stay exceeded my insanely low expectations (was expecting much worse). I think if it had been a school trip when I was in primary or secondary school, I would have hated it, but I suppose it's always funner if you're not coerced into it?
And if you're going, I suggest going for 2D1N cos it's really long enough. I got really sleepy around 7pm cos there was nothing to do except to fish or play mahjong, sing (very retro songs) karaoke or realaxxxxxxxxx. And please bring your own toilet paper (but don't flush it down to the sea!) cos they didn't have any in the toilets (don't know why! Maybe can ask? Luckily we 'collected' toilet paper from somewhere along the way or I'd have been most upset!)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maggi Goreng

A plate of fried maggi noodles I got for breakfast at some random coffeeshop. It cost me RM 5.50 for the plate of maggi goreng ayam (fried maggi noodles with chicken). The chicken chunks were deep fried, battered in a delicious orange batter. The noodles were slightly sticky, sweetish, spicy (but not as spicy as Singapore's) and really delicious.

More on my kelong trip after I shrink my many many photos!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Hello everyone who reads this blog! I am going to a KELONG tomorrow for 2 days 1 night. Hope that it's clean! I shall blog about it when I get back. Here's some pictures (from my sister) of my newly acquired pet:I've borrowed it for 2 weeks - it's super cute and I've been feeding it lots and lots! It's name is Furball and it's 1 year old. And it's looks very big in real life I thought it was a small guinea pig when I first saw it. Furball spends nearly it's whole life sleeping - my maid thought it was dead the first morning I brought it back cos it was flopped onto it's tummy sleeping, and looked like a soggy bean bag. When it's not sleeping, its busy eating, and can stuff 25 sunflowerseeds into his mouth at one go. After that, it proceeds to the top level of his cage and regurgitates all 25 out, to be enjoyed later.
I just saw it yawning today and its teeth are super long yellow and yucky! Looks much cuter when it's mouth is closed.

Ootoya again!

Previously, I was never really impressed by the cooked Japanese food offered in most restaurants here (give me sashimi anytime!) but Ootoya has changed my mind. The cooking is very simple - tastes almost home cooked, no fancy garnishes, pricey ingredients, and most importantly, very affordable and great tasting food. I think it's one of the things that I missed the most (other than sleep) while doing my crazily long hours posting last month...

Mimosa Salad ($6++) with caesar salad dressing
When I think of mimosa, the touch-me-not plant comes to mind. However, the mimosa salad leaves are (thankfully) different from the touch-me-nots. The leaves are crispy, chilled and have a light pleasant taste. I liked the generous portion of diced hard boiled egg, as well as the cheese shavings. The caesar salad dressing comes served in a separate dish - so you can add as much or as little as you want. For $6++, I would say it's much more worth it than the Coffeebean caesar salad (which is rather nice imoh) minus the croutons.
My favourite starter - the grated yam, raw tuna, natto and ladies finger appetiser ($6++, 160kcal). I like how the whole thing becomes a gooey mess after I stir it vigorously. The soft boiled egg on top is really nice too. There's about 3 thick slices of raw tuna cocooned under the egg and milky grated yam. Do take not that this dish is only for people who like slimey gooey stuff, as well as natto, which has an aquired taste (somehow natto smells like coffee to me...)

An insanely healthy dish - the Mixed-grain soy milk porridge with chicken ($12++, 335kcal)
The dish is very light - so light that if you're not full, you should definitely avoid this dish because I am 100% sure that you won't be full (unless you have a stomach the size of Fiona aka flyfairy). For the whole set, it's only 335 calories - and the additional ootoshi (appetiser) and pickles are around 100kcal, so that means the stuff in the bowl only has around 200+ kcal! For those people on a diet, or for people with tiny stomachs and are perpetually full, this is the dish for you! And since the HPB recommends more whole grains, the porridge not only comes with one kind of whole grain, but a whopping total of 9 different kinds of grains (I've never even heard of some of them before). The grains are: pressed barley, millet, leaf mustard, black bean, green bean, red bean, black rice, black sesame, and amaranth. Though it looks so healthy, it's not as bland as I would have expected it to be (but not as nice at my mackeral). The chicken pieces are really tender, and are lightly cooked. There's also lots of mushrooms in it, so it was pretty yummy.
The appetiser that day - some funny lotus root thing, with a french pea, and eggplants (which were cooked just right - not too soggy, and still retaining the nice Barney-dinosaur purple.)My other favourite dish - the Rice with charcoal grilled pork and sauce (Set $14++, 841 kcal. Alacarte $11++, 738kcal)
The pork was supberb - it looked rather dry and hard to me when it was served, but after biting into a piece, I completely changed my mind. The pork was slightly charred at the edges, and had a delicious barbecued smell. The meat was firm, not soggily or fatty and soft, but extremely juicy. It was also well marinaded and each bite was delicious.
For $11 alacarte, it's a steal since you get 4 thick pieces of pork, cooked to perfection. I'm getting very hungry writing about the pork >.<The first dish I tried at Ootoya - the charcoal grilled atka mackerel, go here to read more about it...The last time, I ordered the mackeral ala carte, so I didn't get to try the Grated yam topping on the rice. I really like the grated yam cos it's really gooey and makes my rice really moist - it goes really well with the salty mackerel too - don't have to keep dipping it into the grated daikon (radish). Banana Parfait with Coffee Ice Cream ($6++)
The last time I came, they ran out of coffee ice cream, and so I had milk ice cream instead. The coffee ice cream is really delicious when eaten together with the banana parfait (some pudding thing). There's lots and lots of whipped cream in this dessert, and little swirls of sour raspberry sauce which counters the sweetness of the ice cream and parfait. Topped with 4 little cubes of buttery cake and sliced banana - the parfait really really delicious. I can never come to Ootoya and just have main courses, since their desserts are so yummy! Complimentary dessert from the OCBC promo when Ootooya just opened. I can't remember what it tastes like now, but I was really happy cos I didn't have to spend my usual $6 on a parfait;)
I think I'm going to go broke eating Ootoya - the food's awesome and whenever I go to Orchard, I'll always be tempted to eat at Ootoya - the distance to Orchard Central never deters me. I like to visit Ootooya during odd hours, cos it means that there is no queue - for lunch, I'll usually go really late like at 230 to 3 plus, and for dinner, I'll try to rush in before 6pm, to avoid the mad and crazily long ques. Ootoya doesn't take any reservations, and they don't even take down your phone no. to call you when your table's ready. So you really have to physically stand there and queue. It makes sense, since their restaurant is really small.
Part of the reason why I try to go at an odd hour is because if you go during peak periods, you have a really high chance of sitting at their main 'communal' dining table, which is right next to the main entrance. Not only do you have to sit beside complete strangers, you will also have a huge crowd of hungry patrons gawking and glaring evilly at you as you (slowly) enjoy your meal. It's unappetizing to have people staring hungrily at you as you eat, but Ootoya's food more makes up for it (since I'm preoccupied with my food, I tend not to notice).
Hope hope hope hope hope they open another branch soon! The queue is so long but the food is so good - probably one of the few restaurants I'll queue for.
My recommendation list for Ootoya:
1. Atka Mackerel
2. Charcoal Grilled Pork Rice
3. Scallop Rice (by itself, and not with the soup)
4. Mimosa Salad or Grated Yam, Tuna, Natto and Egg (for those people who eat natt0)
5. All the parfaits for dessert
I haven't tried the deep fried foods (like their cutlets, croquettes etc) because the calorie count there looks really daunting (not that I actually care, but it goes up to the thousands!), but maybe I will soon (must bring Audrey Pok the queen of Fried Food along for her stamp of approval).
Btw, the iced green tea here is really good! Complimentary, and unlike the horrible watered down sorry-tasting versions that other Japanese restaurants serve.
181 Orchard Road
#08-12 Orchard Central
Tel: 6884 8901

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Burger Shack

Burger Shack has been open for a few months, and I've only just discovered it even though I've been passing by it nearly every day! And argh I can't believe that 1 wk of my 2 wk break is gone!! I'll be going to a kelong next week, so hopefully I'll get to catch some fish and eat lots of seafood!! But I'm sure they won't have salted egg sotong or chilli crab.......
Grilled Chicken Burger - $5.70
The chicken fillet is very succulent, I think that they probably use chicken thigh. Although the burger bun is quite thick, the burger didn't taste dry. Probably because they have a pasty tomato salsa spread over the burger bun. The tomato salsa gave the burger more flavour, and they went easy on the mayonnaise (there's a whole squeeze bottle at the counter if you want more). Packed into the burger are thinly sliced raw onions, as well as the usual lettuce and tomato.
Personally, I think that $5.70 is rather steep for the burger - the $5.70 doesn't include fries and drink yet.
Original Beef Burger ($5.70)
Juicy flame grilled NZ beef patty
My sister seems to like this burger - she's had it twice already.
They also have the ramli version of the beef burger, topped with sambal sauce.

Burger buns can be swapped for rice topped with a dollop of garlic butter at no additional cost. The rice is nice and fluffy, and anything topped with butter tastes great.

They've got a BBQ Pulled Pork Burger ($6.20) which I want to try - looks really juicy. They've also got a vegetarian option - the Vic's Portobello mushroom burger ($6.20).
To get fries and canned drink, you have to top up $3.20, but good news for students - the top up costs $2.50 if you flash your student card. The shoestring fries are sprinkled with some special secret recipe seasoning. I thought that they could have been a bit more generous with their secret powder - some of my fries were hardly touched by the reddish powder. I liked how their fries weren't overly salted, and the fries were all very crispy - there weren't any soggy fries in my serving at all.
The food is pretty average - definitely not something that I'll be rushing back for. It's a pretty nice hang out place (car park's $1.50 per hour at King's Arcade), but since it's an open cooking area, I smelt like a fried potato after eating there. They're still expanding their menu, and they're going to be having more grilled foods. If you're craving for dessert, they have warm chocolate brownie, served with none other than Island Creamery's ice cream.

For all the school kids in the area. it's a great alternative to King Albert Park's MacDonald's - though it's nearly double the price of mac's teatime $4.50 special.
Burger Shack
559 Bukit Timah Road
#01-01 King's Arcade (Next to Coronation Plaza)
Tel: +65 6466 3477
Tue-Sun: 12pm - 10pm(Closed on Mon)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spice Peranakan

I had lots of difficulty trying to eat at Spice Peranakan. Firstly, when I 'discovered' it after searching for peranakan food on hungrygowhere sometime in June, they were about to shift to their new location in Biopolis. Decided to try it again when school started, and after trudging to biopolis, my fellow diners said that it was way too empty (so they refused to eat there). The weekend right after that, dear Wong Ah Yoke wrote a rave review in the Straits times, and that was THE END. The restaurant was booked full during lunch, for quite some time after that. So I've been waiting (for the longest time every) for the frenzy to die down, as well as an opportunity to get out of school for lunch (sadly, I was posted to the far east for a month) and thus, I only got to try it recently.
Ayam Buah Keluak ($13.80++)
An additional buah keluak nut costs a whopping $2 (or was it $2.50 - and that's before taxes)
The chicken was pretty tender, and there were 4 good sized portions of chicken (unlike some places where they chop up the chicken until it's so small and boney). The buah keluak sauce had the smokey bitter buah keluak taste, and wasn't too spicy (perhaps it was because I requested for it to be less spicy?). They only give two small nuts, and it was very unsatisfying. I think they should give at least 4 nuts cos the portion's meant for 4 people? The nut's not stuffed with anyting, so it's just pure tarry black buah keluak paste inside. Sambal Kangkong ($8.80++)
The sambal kangkong was very salty when eaten on its own, but it was great when eaten together with the steamed rice. Could really taste the dried prawns in the kankong.Otah otah ($7.80 for 2 pieces)
One of the most expensive otahs I've eaten so far. Taste wise, it's pretty good, quite light and airy compared to other otahs. Although it's moderatley thick, the middle isn't soggy and doesn't have the 'uncooked' taste. I liked how I could taste the lemongrass in the otah paste. Best of all, it wasn't too spicy or salty. Perhaps they cater to the expat crowd at Biopolis?
Jemput Jemput Pisang ($7.80++)
Didn't know what this was before I ordered it, but after I saw it, I realized that I've actually cooked it during Home Economics in secondary school - never knew it was a Peranakan dish? I'm quite sure the vanilla ice cream isn't part of the traditional dessert, but it really cools down my numbed tongue. The jemput jemput pisang is a deep fried banana fritter, and the mashed bananas in it was mushy and sweet. The cake was moist and spongy, and really hit the spot after the spicy meal.
Our conclusion is that it's not as good as some of the restaurants in the East (like Charlie's and Peranakan Inn), not as cheap (though it's not the most expensive restaurant around) but for me, I think I won't mind coming back when a Peranakan food craving hits since it's pretty near my house. Perhaps I'll go to Dulukala and try it again one day. Haven't been there for a really long time - missing their cheap value for money dishes.

Make sure you budget for their many additional charges such as 30cents for each wet towel, and steamed rice is $1.80++ per person. Dishes came reasonably fast, but perhaps it was cos we were sitting in the corner, they didn't really refill our iced water.
Spice Peranakan
20 Biopolis Way
#01-01 Centros - Biopolis
Tel: +65 6738 8887
Park in Carpark A, Yellow Zone, B3