I stayed in hostel during some years of my Uni and NIE PGDE years in NUS and then NTU. Those were the fun and crazy years, away from home with lots of me time. Perched on the Kent Ridge hilltop, staying in KEVII Hall isn’t the most convenient of all places to be. Yes the canteen provided meals of course but as we all know, hostel food sucks so sometimes we would eat out, either NUH canteen just down that treacherous and scary flight of steps down the hill, taking a bus to Clementi central or finding our way the other side of the campus where Fong Seng Nasi Lemak is. Nowhere remotely near to being the best nasi lemak around but that would have to do. But some days ended really late, with lab sessions that stretched all the way past sunset or rehearsals and sessional practices. It helped to stock up some “supplies”, usually canned food of course since we
are not allowed had to pay more rent to keep a mini bar fridge in our rooms. Campbells was my best friend then, good with instant noodles as a “cheat meal” for “creamy pasta”. Then there are the familiar Asian flavours of course, pickled chye sim stems in soya sauce, fermented beancurd cubes, and of course a good old bottle of kana chye to go with Teochew porridge cooked in the common pantry, when the cylinder gas hadn’t been completed exhausted by my PRC hostel mates that is! So simple yet so so gratifying. On some days, when I decided to get experimental, weird concoctions and adventurous sounding dishes were derived, usually out of hungry desperation truth be told, usually when some ingredients ran out, thus the need to put whatever’s available together. In retrospect, the creations then which folks now cleverly call “fusion dishes” looked more like a case of “confusion”. But it was fun nonetheless and Teochew Kana Chye Pasta was probably “invented” under such circumstances…
冷やし中華 Hiyashi Chuka literally meaning “chilled Chinese” is a popular Japanese noodle dish which is normally enjoyed during the summer months. Well, we don’t have distinct seasons in Singapore so all the more better as that meant we get to enjoy it all year round!
I am gonna be brutally honest here. I am not at all that familiar with Indochinese cuisines. Despite being in the big ASEAN family, Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes still largely fall within the “exotics” category for my palate. Hardly an excuse really, given the proximity but fact is I do not eat these foods as often as I could or should, despite there being quite a few good Vietnamese eateries around Singapore, especially in my all-too-familiar Joo Chiat area just a stone’s throw away from my favorite wet market at Geylang Serai. I love Pho Bo and have an affinity for Bahn Mi and Bahn Xeo but apart from these two dishes, my next to-go-to Vietnamese dish to order whenever I am dining in a local viet deli would be Thit Heo Nuong Xa Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops with Rice Noodles. Love the smokey and lightly charred aromas of the grilled pork chops against the assortment of crunchy and refreshing greens. And here’s my take of this popular yet healthy dish. (more…)
Singapoeans love to visit Bangkok for authentic Thai massage, a truly ‘shop till you drop’ kinda experience and of course good and cheap Thai food but with the influx of numerous Japanese and Korean food joints into the Thai capital over the last couple of years, the options have now opened beyond just that wicked bowl of tom yum goong or collagen-packed plate of khao kha moo. In our recent trip to Bangkok, we visited 麺屋 一燈 Menya Itto and here’s why you should too!
Whenever we are on holidays, we make it a point to visit some of the local pastry joints to have a feel of what the local pastry scene is like and our recent trip to Bangkok is no different. Our last trip to the capital of the Land of Smiles was exactly two years back and boy have things changed. Much of the local dessert scene had been completed taken over by the makes of Japan and Korea with bingsus and kakigoris rapidly gaining popularity and finding themselves in perpetually every mall along the main shopping belt in Bangkok. Yet there are some who continued to stay true to their grounds and stuck to the traditions and basics, to which we are very glad for, and Patisserie Paris Mikki is one of those increasingly rare few.
Nasi Ulam, or pronounced as “nasik ulam” in Baba Malay is a classic Peranakan dish which has its roots in Southeast Asian cooking. Comprising of essentially a variety of chiffonaded herbs tossed in steamed fragrant rice, it is painstaking to prepare and thus usually served on “ari besair” during weddings, birthdays or other celebratory events.
I’d not updated the “On the Trail of the Phoenix” series on this blog for quite some time now so perhaps it is a timely reminder. I was really fortunate and beyond happy to receive a big bag of durian blossoms from a friend’s tree. Truly a blessing of the season as it only occurs for a really short period of time each year between the flowers blooming to those which would fall if they were not pollinated by bats and bees. With these blossoms, I’d whipped up two traditional dishes to enjoy them as quickly as possible, the truly Peranakan way…