Friday, July 29, 2011

Din Tai Fung's Truffle Xiao Long Bao

Now that we're frequently dining at Din Tai Fung, I take back what I said that the Singapore's franchise is overrated and incomparable to its original kin in Taiwan. After trying other dim sum houses in the island, honestly, there's still nothing that comes close to Din Tai Fung's Xiao Long Bao. It's still the best so far, period. Recently, they came up with another innovation in its growing repertoire of appetizing dim sums.

Truffle Xiao Long Bao is the next must devour in this restaurant. It's the signature xiao long bao infused with truffles specifically imported from France. The moment our order hits the table, I know right then that I am about to be transported for an ambrosial delicacy. Every morsel of this succulent creation wakes up all olfactory senses and it will leave you wanting for more. I'm afraid I will be more critical the next time I try the regular xiao long bao now that my palate met this "kitchen diamond".

Starhub launched FooD.I.Y. Apps for iPhone and iPad

When we talk about creme de la creme of rosters of popular celebrity chefs, top of mind names that will make it to the list are the likes of Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Rachel Ray, Rachel Allen, Giada de Laurentiis, Bobby Chin and more. Now, picture having the recipes and culinary secrets of these culinary gurus within easy reach? Wouldn't that be a great gastronomic treat?! Thank you to Starhub for coming up with a first, truly brilliant and inspiring food application that will make all food enthusiasts' dreams possible. FooD.I.Y. (pronounced as Food-ee), the first ever "made in Singapore" food application is an extensive international recipe database with localised feature that simply brings the art of cooking to life right in your very own home kitchen. 

It was a privileged to be invited on the FooD.I.Y.'s launch at the Palate Sensations Cooking School. We were treated to an afternoon of mouthwatering food samples and recipes to keep in our culinary bin.  There was a cooking demonstration done by the Executive Chef of Palate Sensations, Chef Charlotte Disidoro while showing the key features of the FooDIY app.

Some of th FooDIY apps highlights are the following:
  • Wide selection of recipes from renowned celebrity chefs compilated from their shows at different Starhub food channels. The recipes will be updated monthly.
  • Step by step video tutorials by the celebrity chef for selected recipes.
  • Detailed ingredients and tools glossary. There will be a description and picture of every ingredient listed as well as recommended substitutes in the event that the ingredient is hard to find in the market.
  • Conversion chart. For quick and easy conversion of ingredients' amounts and parts.  
  • Handy shopping list. This feature allows users to consolidate ingredient requirements from different recipes.

The sumptuous canapes of different chefs were likewise prepared and all were indulging to the palate. For sampling most of them, once you start you simply can't stop. That's how scrumptious these nibbles are. The recipes of these mini delights are all in the FooDIY app.
Jamie's Bruschetta by Jamie Oliver, TLC

Water Melon, Feta Cheese and Mint Mini Skewers by Chef Charlotte Disidoro, Palate Sensations

Crunchy Noodle Salad by Ina Garten, Food Network Asia

Savoury Parmigiano Shortbread Cookies by Chef Charlotte Disidoro, Palate Sensations

Carrot Halva by Bal Arneson, Food Network Asia

Raspberry Swirls by Rachel Allen, BBC Lifestyle
FooDIY download is available for free at iTunes store and I just started navigating it on my iPad. For food aficionados like me, this is a perfect companion and tool. Cooking is so much easier now that everything you need is made available at your fingertips. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Chili Crab in Singapore

Chili Crab has long been regarded as the most popular dish in Singapore. So iconic is the dish that it's synonymous to being the country's culinary emblem. As they say, you've never been to Singapore if your palate was not romanced by this fiery, lip-smacking dish. It's normally prepared by frying the crab to crispy shell perfection then generously coated and bathed in a thick, juicy and creamy tomato gravy. There are a lot of places to savour this dish. From big chain of restaurants to open-air dining set up at Hawker Centres and Kopitiams, you'll be pampered with many variations. From those that I've tried so far, these are my top five picks.

5. Olde Cuban Chinatown
#2 Trengganu Street, #02-01
 Singapore 058456
 Mildly hot & spicy, creamy, saucy, with a hint of sour, the sauce is undoubtedly finger licking good!

4. Long Beach Seafood
25 Dempsey Road, opposite Singapore Botanic Gardens
Tel: +65 6323 2222
The only version that's very distinct in herb notes like coriander leaf. It has a very fresh, juicy, succulent aroma and taste impression. The level of hotness is just right.

3. Red House
Blk 1204, #01-05
East Coast Seafood Centre
East Coast Parkway
Singapore 449 882
Tel: +65 6442 3112
The taste is more on the juicy, tomato character. It's a classic, downright simple hot & spicy version.

2. Jumbo Seafood
Riverside Point
30 Merchant Road # 01-01/02 Riverside Point
Singapore 058282
Tel: +65 6532-3435
Very fiery! The pepper seeds and flakes are very well incorporated into the sauce. There's no hint of herbs, sourness or even an overwhelming tomato note. I think what made this dish likeable is its well rounded taste and balanced flavors.
1. No Signboard Seafood
Esplanade 8 Raffles Avenue
The Esplanade, Singapore
Tel: +65 6336 9959
Inspite of the absence of a food photo, No Signboard's Chili Crab version left a remarkable memory in my palate. It's a complete version to be had. It's the most creamy and thus, most tasty of all. The level of hotness is just right and the sauce guarantees to provide a lip-smacking, finger licking experience.

Also, a Chili Crab experience will never be complete without dunking a delish fried mantou in the sauce. It's actually a pair made in gastronomical heaven.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Singapore Food Festival 2011

It's that time of the year again for the grandest food event in Singapore. Last year, we were witnesses to the pride and heritage of Chinese Cuisine. This year, the Food Festival theme highlights the robust flavors of curry and spices. Thus, expect your palate to be fired up by popular local favorites such as Chili Crab, Fish Head Curry, Otah, Laksa, Kebab and a whole lot more. I sampled some of them and I was immediately transported to high level of hot & spicy goodness.

Here's the history and some trivia on this annual food event...

The 2011 Food Festival promises to pepper your senses with magical spices, take your tastebuds on an exotic adventure and experience it by foot, wheels and in the air."

Truly spice rich food carts can be found at the Clarke Quay bridge and it's a true feast hopping from one stall to the next. Let your tongue wander..

Some of the food choices that are so hard to resist..
Fried Carrot Cake

Otah - Grilled Fish Cake


Fish Head Curry

Chili Crab
The Singapore Food Festival 2011 will run from July 15 to 24 with the following event highlights:
Clarke Quay Read Bridge & Central River Promenade Food Village : July 15 - 24
Tiffin Cruise : July 15 - 24
Spice Odyssey At-Sunrice : July 20
Long Table at Little India : July 23
Trishaw Heritage Trail : July 23 - 24
Spice and Canapes in the Sky (Singapore Flyer) : July 23 - 24

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7107 Flavors - Filipino Cuisine

I can hardly believe that it really took a long while for me to discover a decent Filipino restaurant in Singapore. It's quite ironic despite the fact that Filipino community in the Lion City is relatively big. As cliche as it may sounds, it still is better late than never. 7107 Flavors was recommended by a Filipino colleague back home who happens to be a friend of the owner. We were quite fortunate that the restaurant was having a buffet at the time of our visit. They normally have buffet offerings twice a month (on first and last sundays). It's a very simple buffet yet enticing enough to bring any Filipino closer to home. The food choices range from familiar dishes of seafood, meat, vegetables, salads, soups, noodles, desserts and native delicacies. Taste wise, it's a typical home-cooked Filipino cuisine.  

Spanish Mackerel Ceviche with Tofu Fry

Tofu & Pork

Red Cabbage and Apple Salad

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Pancit Puti (Sauted Rice Noodles)

Chapsuey with Quail Eggs

Beef in Tomato Sauce

Inihaw na Panga ng Tanigue (Grilled Fish)

Salt & Pepper Pork Spareribs

Corn Soup with Moringga leaves

Brownies with Yogurt Cream

Bibingka (Rice Cake)

Brazo de Mercedes

Kutsinta (Brown Rice Cake - Native Delicacy)

Buko Lychee
Valued at S$30++ per person for all these choices, it's generally not bad at all. I can look forward to come back.

7107 Flavors Restaurant
#02-02 Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd., Singapore

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blue Ginger - A Peranakan Cuisine

Peranakan Cuisine created a big buzz in my gastronomical memory since day one of our relocation to Singapore. I oftentimes hear good things about this Chinese-Malay culinary fusion. Apparently, it took me more than a year to finally dig-in to that very intriguing Nonya plate. Had it not been to a farewell dinner organized for one of our colleagues, I am still definitely missing a big part of Singapore food scene.

We went to Blue Ginger in Tanjong Pagar. It's a popular Peranakan restaurant that promises to deliver signature dishes from a Nonya. A Nonya is a matriarch (Straits Chinese Lady) who's well loved for her great tasting heritage recipes. She usually gathers the entire family over a scrumptious feast. True enough, what we've tasted during this dinner are reminiscent of a grandmother's cooking. Generally, most of the dishes are rich, spicy and full of flavors. The Fish Head Curry caught me completely. It has the right balance of spice notes and creaminess. It's my favorite among these choices... 

Ngo Heong - home made rolls of minced pork and prawn seasoned with five spice powder, wrapped and fried to crispy perfection
Buah Keluak - braised chicken seasoned with turmeric, galangal and lemongrass cooked with Indonesian black nuts

Itek Tim - duck and pork knucles with vegetables and sour plum

Otak Otak - homemade fish cake

Chap Chye Masak Titek - mixed vegetable in a prawn stock

Sambal Bendy - ladies fingers with spicy shrimp paste
Nonya Fish Head Curry - red snaper cooked in a typical homestyle curry

On the whole, it's a restaurant worthy enough to be in the list of places to keep coming back for.

The Blue Ginger Restaurant
97 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088518
Lunch : 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner : 6.30pm to 10.30pm
For reservations, call (+65) 6222 3928 or fax at (+65) 6222 3860