Monday, February 18, 2008

Comfort food

Back to Perth but still craving Singaporean food, qin and I decided to hit the alleys of Northbridge to get our fix.

Northbridge is Perth's Chinatown. Well, sorta. It isn't as packed with chinese as, let's say, LA's Chinatown where it's literally filled with chinese people, restaurants and groceries stores. It is, however, where you can find many dim sum places, chinese tze char restaurants, hong kong tea houses and taiwan bubble tea cafes. Not to mention a good amount of vietnamese and korean restaurants and the occasional malay restaurant. It's also home to the famous Corica apple strudel and Hog's breath cafe, plus a few other western restaurants which look a little too high end for my pockets.

The place we dropped by yesterday was called Da pai dang, or Hawker place in english. Apparently it's a Malaysian-food based restaurant which served quite a good variety of dishes, amongst them the Singapore-styled chilli crab.

We had Nasi goreng special ($9) and Hainanese chicken rice ($9) which were quite decent. The only bad point with both dishes were the rice which was a tad too soggy. Other than that, the chicken rice came with a whole chicken thigh which was tender and well flavoured. Although the rice was too wet, the taste was there as well and paired with the chilli, made for a very good meal. The chilli, however, is different from those we normally have in Singapore. Instead, it resembles more like the chilli served in chinese restaurants. Think chicken rice chilli infused with a little thai chilli sauce. Slightly sourish sweet but very tasty nevertheless, definitely a nice alternative to what we usually have.

The Nasi goreng was also well fried, a pity about the rice's moisture though. Filled with juicy prawns, mixed vegetable and chicken meat, it also comes with 2 sticks of satay which were not too bad. It also came with a freshly fried chicken wing which qin said was "very good!". Plus, she said that the belachan they provided was "quite power".

I'm really glad we still have Northbridge to fall back on. Stay tune as I'll be back for it's dim sum restaurants, Viet eating houses and Taiwanese tea cafes!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Goodbye Singapore. See you soon

So practically for the rest of my trip I've been spending time with my girlfriend's family, going out for dinner and luncheon, helping qin's mum with her business packages (They own a bridal shop at IMM level 2 called E-Bridal. Her mum designs very nice dresses and her dads a very good photographer. If anyone is getting married, please pay them a visit!) driving up to Malaysia for bak kut teh (damn power) or simply having full day shopping-cum-eating trips. It was my first time going to City Square in Msia and although the shopping wasn't as good there, it was a fun trip. Bought loads of dvds back as well, hohoho! (shhhh)

Life's been good in Singapore, and I'm glad I went back. Soaking up the weather and the humidity has been good for my skin and the festive mood definitely lightened my spirits. Thank Eu Yan Sang as well for curing my eczema. For the past six months my eczema had been so bad I couldn't move in the morning and hurts whenever it dries up. It was just a nightmare, and thank the gods it's finally 80% cured. It's a pity though I only had time to meet most friends only once or twice. The first 2 weeks I went back my eczema was so bad I had to stay home and the next time weeks I was rushing to buy stuff back for home and hanging out with my girlfriend's brothers, and not to mention stuffing my face with kuehs and desserts of sorts.

You cannot imagine how grateful I was to walk the streets of Orchard road again, scourging the Takashimaya basement for snacks, or squeezing through the busy Bugis Streets. I miss Singapore, and surprisingly, I miss the crowd. I guess I'm Singaporean, and nothing can change that. Circumstances have forced us to move away to another place, but if one day I have the ability to consider a choice, I would move back home again. Plus, you can't really find good nonya kueh in Perth.

PS: I just hope that when I move back, some prick currently managing the country wouldn't be around. My heart weep for the people whose hard earned money are used to line someone's fat pocket. And a gambler at that.

Anyways, Ang mo kio market has reopened. Yay! It's much more spacious now and as clean as can be. The food stalls are mostly the same though (thank god). AMK hub is also fully opened and although it isn't a very good shopping place, it's nice for hanging out. I guess if I really move back, I'll stay in Ang mo kio which is near qin's family as well.

I also miss living with qin's family. It's really fun living there and the family's great. Her mum's great and somehow resembles my mum, her dad always whip up nice dishes, and I like hanging out with her brothers. Actually, they're one of the main reasons I wanted to go back to Singapore as well.

So until the next time I go back guys, I would just like to say


Friday, February 15, 2008

Back to SG! Post 2

Singapore getting too fast-paced. I've only been away for 6 months and the basement of Bugis junction and Plaza Singapura have changed?! I'm not complaining though, only means more food stalls for me, ha!

This mochi balls were bought from Plaza Singapura B2. It's a shop selling japanese snacks and they grill this mochi ball on this takopachi-like cooker which does the cha-cha. Yes, it shakes.

It's nice, and yummy, but the filling will give your tooth the aches. I like the chestnut flavour though, and the strawberry as well.

And it's back to Chinatown again. Well, not exactly, but somewhere close. I was at Amoy Street Food Center be exact, after popping by the temple to give my prayers, and decided to try this dessert stall which was mentioned in ieat's blog ages ago. Apparently this lady here makes her own Ah ballings and her desserts are quite kick ass as well.

Verdict: I like the red bean soup, barley gingko and cheng tng but they are all too sweet. Don't take my word for it though, maybe my taste buds have tamed down living in Perth. The cheng tng ($1.50) is teeming with ingredients and I would say it's actually a very good deal for the taste and quantity.

The red bean soup was tasty as well, but couldn't beat the one at Maxwell's (where it has brown rice in it). If only the sugar level was lower, I'm pretty sure the full flavour of the red beans would come through.

What about the rice balls? Hmm, you could give me a commercially made rice ball and a home-made one and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. They are practically the same, skin or filling. But it's nice, trust me on that one. I like the small rice balls without filling though, it complements the red bean soup very, very well. And it's tangy too!

Ah-ha, finally the barley gingko. It's just too sweet, and the flavour couldn't fully come through because of that. It's really a waste, because it had the potential to be really good.

A pity as well, because what this stall is most famous for is it's nut pastes. Too bad, they were sold out when I got there, which is good for me because I can't take nuts either, Ha!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back to SG!

As the airplane flew over my homeland, a city filled with bright lights, late night movies, 3am suppers and great shopping, my heart skipped a beat, to say the least.

Dashing to Perth after finishing the horrid 2 years of slavery, I've forgotten how much I missed Singapore. The beatiful weather, the awesome food, the shopping and the crowd, I missed them all. If only Perth is only an hour's flight away and costs only a hundred bucks to get to. Sigh.. Stop dreaming Sam.

Well, I'm just counting my blessing I was able to come back during this CNY period, I missed out on ang baos the previous two years you know?!

Okay, back to blogging. I didn't take much pictures during this trip back so I'll probably cover my trip in two posts.

The first day I landed we went to eat my favourite place for San lao or stir fried hor fun with fish slices and bean sprouts. This restaurant in Chinatown is a branch of the XO fish beehoon and serves equally well san lao.

As the plate of steaming hot, savoury rice noodles landed in front of me, all memories of Singapore food returned. The thick and flat noodles, nicely charred with a generous serving of sauce, is complimented by the huge serving of beansprouts which gives the dish a nice crunch. Wah... shiok...

And then the XO fish beehoon, which I couldn't eat (because of my skin, cannot take alchohol and milk lar) is also equally power (because I've eaten it in the past). Let's just say XO in fish beehoon is a good combination okay?

Other stuff we ate in Chinatown included Xingxing's kueh. Wah piang eh! I regret not taking a picture of it man. I tell you, their tapioca kueh is the most kick-ass in Singapore. I've never eaten a kueh so soft yet tangy and which taste melts in your mouth. It's soft, yet with a firmness which allows you to handle it quite roughly. (er... quite X-rated hor... solly solly!)

But really, it's flavour is unprecedented, and even Bengawan's doesn't come in close. 3 large pieces for a dollar is also a good deal as well. If you're there, buy a couple of kueh kosui as well, it's equally good. And since you've bought those, might as well buy the damn good ondeh ondeh and mochi right?

On the other hand, Sgkueh's kueh has deteriorated badly. It's ondeh ondeh has become hard, and so has it's kueh. Plus, I bought abought 4 kuehs and asked for a box and the lady refused to give it to me. Wah lao, so niao meh? I also asked if certain kuehs contained milk (because I'm allergic to it) and she irritatedly tell me "Don't know la, don't know la". Wah... Sgkueh's boss, if you ever read this, please take note.

On the next post, I'll cover Zhen jie's desserts and the rest of my trip.