Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Singapore - Land of Long Lost Teochew Food

Overall had a very wonderful eating experience during the few days we were in Singapore. Mainly cause I got the chance to eat more Teochew cuisine this time around - which I love but rarely get the chance to eat. Probably only had it 2 other times all my life.

A couple of reasons why I love Teochew Food:

(i) I am Teochew (though I don't speak a word of it)
(ii) It is almost impossible to get Teochew food from my hometown, Kota Kinabalu
(iii) It is much lighter in taste (and thus mostly healthier) compared to food of other Dialect groups such as Hakka, Hokkien and so on.

Don't get me wrong, nothing against other food, just saying some cuisines are different from others, but all good.

Also, was extremely fortunate enough to experience two particular Teochew meals that were exceptional to me (they will be numbered in Red later in photos). Like none I have ever experienced and thus am going recommend (which I don't normally like to do).

So please feel free to try them out any time you're in Singapore and tell me what you think.

Singapore Food:

First meal once we landed was at Singapore was @Whampoa Food Court. Oyster Omelette aka "Huo Jien" in Mandarain and "O Rak" in Teochew.

"Chwee Kweh", starchy base with "Chai Bu" aka preserved turnip on top

Famous Whampoa Rojak. For spicy eaters only!

Teochew fish porridge with Swordfish

Hokkien Prawn Mee - very different from the usual Penang Prawn Mee

1. (i) Condiments found in typical Teochew meal. The one on far left is "Dou Jiang" aka preserved soya bean

(ii) Teochew Baked Crab. BEST way to eat crab. So sweet and full of roe

Beautiful. Great way of cooking to taste the natural flavour of the crab

(iii) We loveee "Otak-Otak", aka Spicy Fish Mousse. BEST we've ever had

(iv) Mixed pig parts

(v) Fish cake

(vi) Instead of eating the dishes with rice, some of us had it with plain Teochew porridge. Such a light and refreshing meal

(vii) Fish soup with soft bone fish. So yum

Still edible fish bones even though they weren't fried. Too bad I forgot to get the exact name of the fish

(viii) Whoa. Super nice "Fan Shu Miao" aka Sweet Potato Leaf fried with Sambal

(ix) Teochew style steamed fish. FORGOT the name of fish but was massive and fresh

(x) HALF a "Song Yu Tou" aka Song Fish Head. LOVEEE this. Acceptable to non fish head lovers too - just ask my sister. Heaps of meat and fish oil/gelatin to eat from this half a head alone (was about 20cm long!). And any foodie would tell you that the best part of the fish is found on its cheek.

Seriously, I really enjoyed every single dish in this meal. Though it may look simple in pictures, but the taste and freshness in each dish just comes through so wonderfully. All found at:

Xu Jun Sheng (long ji) Chao Zhou Mei Shi
No. 59 Joo Chiat Place Singapore 427783

Highly recommend this place and please don't hesitate to tell me what you like/don't like about the place once you've tried it =)

Food from Takashimaya Food Hall - Popiah

Durian pancake. MMMM. Nice and crispy

Teochew Bak Kut Teh - cooked with black pepper more for the aroma than the spicy taste. Notice the lighter contrast of most of the Teochew dishes? Especially evident in the Bak Kut Teh soup. Less soya and oyster sauce. Both taste completely different but equally good in different ways

Pork sliced meat with Bak Kut Teh

Met up with a friend at a nice Jazz Pub in the city. She ordered this Vanilla Creme Brulee which I thought was delicious. Notice they served it in a big plate instead of the usual ramekins. Thank God custard wasn't too sweet especially for that portion, phew

Lunch @ Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Suntec City. Cold drunken/wine chicken dish

Minced meat "La Mian" aka Ramen or "Pulled Noodles". Nice broth

Star of the day, "Xiao Long Bao" aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings. First choice was to eat at Din Tai Fung but couldn't find it. This one was not bad too

Was really missing the Szechuan food I normally get at Melbourne so decided to order some Szechuan dishes. Fried bean shoots with minced meat

Deep fried chicken with dried chillies

2. (i) Pre-dinner appetizers: Chilli tofu and pickled veg

(ii) More interesting condiments that are only found in really authentic Teochew restaurants, according to Dad. Still not sure what they are (gotta ask my parents again) but all I know is that the one in the far left is meant for the following dish.

(iii) The Hakka people always say that for poultries, best is always to eat the "Ngo Tiu, Ap Giang, Kai Si Fut" or "Goose head, Duck neck, Chicken butt".

What people don't normally realise is that cause these animals are constantly exercising and moving their heads and necks which makes the meat in these parts leaner and more tender. You will be able to enjoy it if you are not erked out by the fact that you're eating the head and neck of the bird.

Whereas some people like the chicken butt (as well as that of other poultries) cause it only contains the good but unhealthy stuff - skin and lots of fats

(iv) Next, we had super yummy Teochew Fish Steamboat. What sets this apart from other steamboats (or hotpots) is that it is heated with charcoal and broth is rich with the flavours of the fish and taro while accompanied by tofu, seaweed and shavings of fried egg. So darn good. A must try for curious food tasters looking for a different eating experience

(v) Fresh "Se Ban" aka "Garoupa" slices for the steamboat

Notice that those diagonal incisions are actually made by the chef and not from the bones of the fish. More for presentation purposes only cause it comes out beautifully once cooked.

(vi) Fried egg on left. Can be put in soup or eaten just like that nice and crispy. YUM!

(vii) Most crabs served in Singapore are the Sri Lankan crabs (whereas in KK it's mostly the Flower Crab) and majority of Singaporeans would opt to have it cooked Black Pepper style, just like this one.

And let me just say that this was the BESTTT crab eating experience I have ever had!!! Zomg. Same goes for my parents too - and they've been enjoying crabs for far longer than I have.

And let me tell you why simply from the look of this picture. Seriously, just look at this beauty. Never have we eaten a crab that had MORE ROE than the flesh. No joke.

Besides that, what I noticed about Lankan crabs is that not only are they so much bigger in size, but the meat is so much CHEWIER and sweeter as well! You'll notice it if you tasted it too, it's that obvious. Wow.

Biting into a huge chunk of its beautiful white flesh and later enjoying the wonderful chewy texture before tasting the natural sweetness of the crabmeat after swallowing. Conclusion: Lankan crabs totally trumps the Flower crabs.

I also really enjoyed eating the little bits of deep fried flour mixed in the black pepper sauce off the shell of the crab. So. Darn. Good.

(viii) And last but not least, the Mother of all Teochew Desserts - "Ou Ni" aka "Sweetened Yam Cream with Ginko ".

Personally, I have always loved this dessert. But what Dad is normally extremely sceptical about this dessert is that most of the time you would find a thick layer of oil on the surface of the dish (added during cooking to increase consistency of texture) which really turned him off.

This however barely had any oil but was still the smoothest and tastiest he has ever tasted. WELL DONEEEE. Managed to bring some back to KK too. WOOOOOOOOOT. Right now, can't wait to go back to this restaurant next time I'm in Singapore =)))

Teochew Cuisine Restaurant
413 River Valley Road Singapore 248311

Double Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger or something at Burger King. Can everyone please take a moment to stare straight into the wonder and beauty of this magnificent burger. I am so tempted to make this my wallpaper right now. THIS is why the burgers in Burger King, Singapore are the BEST.

Was also tempted to try their new burger. Extra crispy bacon. Omgosh. I suspect the reason is that they actually deep fry it which I have no problem with at all


Singapore Drinks:

Apparently most popular cocktail there, the Jiggly Melon @ Acid Bar, Orchard Road

Singapore Sling

Singapore Fruits:

"Mao Shan Wang" Durian. Very common in Singapore. Too bitter for my liking. A little bitterness is fine but this was way too much. Now I know lol

Anyway, that's all for now and hope you guys enjoyed the piks! Blessings, peeps!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Apple Crumble Recipe

Okay I actually really want to do a post about my Singapore Trip last week but it's late and I've gotta wake up early for work tomorrow.

Anyway, here's the recipe I gathered from various sources then changed (especially the sugar level) and used for the potluck dinner we had on New Year's Eve. Also the same one I gave to a friend who asked for it later that night so I decided to share it here too.

Right so here it is and feel free to give any suggestions to it. Note: Recipe based on my 35cm x 22cm x 5cm baking tray. So please adjust amount of ingredients based on tray volume ratios.



- 300g/10.5oz rolled oats/Nestum flakes
- 300g/10.5oz plain flour (sieved, with a pinch of salt)
- 220g/6oz brown sugar
- 250g/7oz unsalted butter (cut to small cubes)

- 8 normal green apples (cut to cubes around 1cm)
- 75g/2.6oz brown sugar
- 1 - 1.5tbsp plain flour
- 3 dashes of ground cinammon


1. Preheat oven to 180deg (around 20-30min)
2. Place oats, flour, sugar, butter in a bowl and mix well with hands until really fine like breadcrumbs *
3. Cook all the fillings in low heat until apple is slightly soft **
4. Use the foil from your butter to grease the base of your tray
5. Pour fillings into bottom of tray and crumble on top
6. Bake for about 45min or until crumble is golden brown and you see the filling start to bubble
7. Serve HOT with lots of Vanilla Ice Cream - and ENJOY! ***

* This step is requires patience and is rather tiring to break the butter up into really little pieces - but it's totally worth it!
** Looks/tastes/smells just like the McDonalds apple pie filling! =D
*** I've tried quite a few places just to find Vanilla Ice Cream and it seems really rare nowadays. The bigger supermarkets like Giant, Servay, LTS or Woolies in Aus are more likely have it.

Ugh, was busy serving people and completely forgot to take a good final product picture. Rookie mistake =O

Anyone know a good song to go with a Food Blog? Hehe. Hope you're all well. Blessings =)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The long awaited KK post (and quick rant)

Okay I know I haven't updated in a while. It's not that I don't want to, it's just I don't know how to. Went through piks since I've been back last night. After trying really hard to be very selective already, I ended up with exactly 100 pictures I want to upload.

ZOMG TTM (i.e. to the max). After trying again, I finally cut it down to 50. So, please bear with me. I promise I won't upload more than 30 (absolute maximum) at once in the future. So yeah, real sorry bout the delay and didn't mean to bombard all at once!

Also, people have been asking me why I started a food blog? They then go on to ask if it's so I can review and critic food and restaurants? I mean, people who's got the chops do that which is fine.

But let me make it clear right here and now by saying NOOOOOOOOO.

That is completely besides the point of doing this to begin with! Personally, I have nothing against people who do that. But nothing ticks me off more than people who are ridiculously PRETENTIOUS and OVERcritical when it comes to Food. As if it makes them feel elevated by pretending to "know a lot" about Food.

For instance, sometimes when a group of friends and I would go somewhere for food/drinks. Suppose one or two of them would be genuinely happy with what they've ordered and it's so nice to see people enjoy their meal. Then later, another smart ass would interrupt by telling the other two to their faces in great detail about why it actually sucks and how they've had better somewhere else.

Seriously... SERIOUSLY... Can you NOTTT?!?! It's times like these when I want nothing more than to shove a giant watermelon into their mouth. Just cause of your indecency and insensitivity you make it really awkward, people feel bad and yourself look like such an ASS.

I guess what really gets me set off is how rude they are to my other friends by saying these things and thus making them not able to enjoy their food as much anymore. What... A... Prick.

And then you have people who are completely stubborn when it comes to deciding where to eat. Hypotethically, when a group of people have agreed on a place to eat cause they all generally seem to like to eat there, can the person throwing the hissy fit about this-place-that-everyone-likes-not-being-as-good-as-this-other-place-that-noone-else-like-but-you NOT and just drop it?

Otherwise can you not pull that sour yoghurt face when every body decides to go ahead anyway and just grow up?

I don't know. A part of me is saddened by how a night out with friends can turn from being a great time having conversation and sharing laughter over good food to a night solely about "good food" based on your own petty judgement and just because we decide to eat somewhere else would turn the night into a complete flop for you especially if it's sort of a rare occasion since you're going out with friends that you seldom get to meet.

Seriously... Sometimes it's not just about "the food" okay. And don't let it be all about that alone. Well maybe that's certain people's definition of a good meal and good time. I guess it's fine if you're eating on your own, but it's really selfish if people just would not budge and make situations really uncomfortable for other people over something so petty don't ya think?
Is it just me or do you guys have friends who're like that also?

And to all these obnoxious people out there, have you guys ever considered that the reason people would like a certain food or restaurant is perhaps it provides great service and atmosphere for a good time or it's reminiscent for others who's had fond memories there before, despite being PERFECTLY AWARE that they probably don't have the "best food" in town and doesn't care that much anyway. ZZZZZZZ. Go suck on a lemon, will you.

*** WOWWWWW that was a whole lot of steam that I let out at once. Probably not the most "Life* giving" blog post out there but it had to be said. Anyway at the end of the day, I know I'm not perfect either and I'm LEARNING to love each person just as much. Just some thoughts that I've kept inside for a wee bit too long hehe. Hope you're all well and having a gastronomical experience wherever you are!

Also note that this is not a personal attack on anyone but just a quick rant to vent out my exasperation from numerous encounters in the past. Wrote this up when I had a bit of free time at the office yesterday afternoon hehe.

Warmest blessings,
Wince =)


**Note: From now on my KK/Malaysian posts shall be split into 3 categories:

(i) KK Food

Bird's nest soup as a welcome back drink on my first night made by Mum. Something she used to prepare for us during exam periods back in high school.

P.s. I never remember or pay attention to exact names of coffee shops but will try from now on. One of my favourite fish noodle shop @ Inanam

Oyster omelette

"Mun Ng" aka "Stewed fish" in Hakka. Really tasty dish

Dinner @ Ocean Seafood. This is called "Xiang Bi Luo" aka "Elephant Trunk Clams"

Staple for our family. Sabah veggie fried with dried shrimps and extra egg

Mum's homemade soup

"Shen Rou Mien" aka "Zhu Yuk Meen" in West Malaysia aka "Pork Noodles" @ Inanam

Favourite "Ngiu Chap" aka "Beef Combination Noodles". Tastes much better than Vietnamese Pho, specialty of KK. @ Jia Shiang Nyiu Zhak, Hilltop

Tuaran Mee, another KK specialty

More fish noodles but of different kinds. Lots of coffee shops sell the same thing but almost completely different at every shop. @ Lee Wong Kee, Hilltop

The fish lip, please don't freak out, it's awesome

Sweetened nuts for entree at Chinese restaurants pure win. @ Equatorial Restaurant, Tg Aru Plaza

BEST salad prawn in KK

The one and only way I would judge a good Chinese restaurant is by their fried rice. Yes, fried rice at restaurants. But it's through this simple dish that true skill is required and shown

Had seafood dinner at a friend's restaurant. This is called "Dong Fong Luo" aka "La La" for short. Like snails but not disghusting. Very typical authentic seafood dish here @ Shuang Tian Seafood Restaurant, Asia City

This is how it's done


We always order this dish every time we go back to her restaurant. Here we have Nestum Prawns

ONLY RM6.80/kg or AU$2.20/kg!!!!!!!! Cheapest we've ever eaten in our lives ZOMGZOMGZOMGGG.

Always ask for female crabs. That way you get to eat the really yummy crab eggs too. BEAUTIFUL

Had a craving for coffee shop Western food the other night. Chicken chop @ Lee Wong Kee, Hilltop

Erm... Baked apple crumble for potluck on NY Eve. Too busy rushing to feed people and didn't realise I haven't gotten a proper picture after it was baked. Was really successful and every one liked it given it was only my first time baking it PHEW! Looks like this but golden brown on top =/

Mum's contribution for the potluck, awesome chicken chops. Very popular that night indeed.

Korean BBQ for New Year's Day dinner @ Bintulu Restaurant, Lintas

Deep fried whole pork legs. SO YUMMY. Fried til ultra crispy and you can't taste the oily fats anymore

Bimbimbap wasn't too bad. Only wished the stone woulda been hotter so it could slightly burn the rice at the bottom. Oh wells tasted good tho

Different kind of Ngiu Chap. This one @ Kedai Kopi Ria, Damai

Went for a unique dinner experience, i.e. Congee/Porridge Steamboat @ Station 13, City Mall

Surprisingly good qualitiy and fresh ingredients were used. I think it's cause every single staff in the restaurants were the owners with their family members, better quality control. Always more successful when operated themselves

Actually used good fish. Forgot what it's called, gotta ask Mum again

Craved Jap dinner the next night, this one's @ Hana, City Mall. Good variety there

Salmon Skin Handroll

"Kaki Frai" aka Deep Fried Oysters

What I always eat at Jap restaurants here. Salmon head and a bowl of rice

Vanilla ice cream with mango syrup =]

(ii) KK Drinks

"MILO O KOSONG KAU KAU BING". I ALWAYS have my Milo like this. O = no condensed milk, Kosong = no sugar, Kau Kau = extra thick, Bing = with ice. Complicated person, I am

"Kit Chai Sui" aka Calamansi Drink

"Teh C" Bing aka Iced Milk Tea. Different from bubble tea though. These three are my all-time favourite drinks at KK

Made fruit punch for NYE too. BIG HIT that night, so simple and delicious, highly recommended. It's called Luscious Slush Punch

(iii) KK Fruits

"Tuku". Like "Langsat" but bigger, juicier, sweeter and smaller seed. You have no idea how much I LOVE local fruits

Coconut from our own tree in our own tree in the garden. Don't mean to sound biased, but one of the sweetest I've ever tasted. We also ate the flesh just in time. Not too ripe til they've hardened but just soft enough you can still taste the sweetness. YUMMM.