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An Introduction
The Simplest Aphrodisiac

Flavours of the Month

Flavours of the Month
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Overseas Trips

Overseas Trips
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The A List

The A List
Featuring the Best

A Short Note

29 August 2010

This is my one and only statement on the issue that I have found myself embroiled in. Like many of you, my own opinion had been formed based on what I was told, and I had voiced it through a personal albeit public domain. To that effect, I rejected requests for interviews because this was purely my own expressions in my own space. Some have made out my expressions to appear obsessive, but then anything would appear to be so if you take out everything in the middle.

I will not rehash the debate by defending my case through a point-by-point rebuttal of each "fact" that has been put forth. Engaging in a battle on which side is correct is, was and has never been, my intention. However, in the course of the debate, I have found that labels have been attached to me with regards to the integrity of my words. The interpretation of my stand with regards to private invites has been misconstrued and presented in a manner which is dissimilar from what I believe in, both in terms of invited sessions and to the implications of this saga. You might already have known how the cynicism has started (link), so there is no need for me to get into a long spiel now. There was also no ties to be severed if there weren't much of any to begin with.

I shall let my past words and the genuine relationships with my friends and family defend the integrity of myself and this blog today. I blog because I want to share my interest in food, not because I think I am deserving or entitled to anything free or exclusive. I have never seen myself as a gourmet of the highest order, and neither should I be treated any differently from any one of you out there just because I have a DSLR camera and a blog.

Whether you choose to believe in me, or not, is entirely up to you.

J.B, Malaysia: Baskin Robbins

27 August 2010

There's always a time for ice-cream, no matter how full you are, no matter what time of the day it is, and no matter how much you try to be on a diet. When I was in J.B recently I made a mental note to pay Baskin Robbins a visit, especially since the last time I had ice-cream from Robbins was a few years ago in Bangkok. I remember it to be quite good.

If I had to make a comparison, I would say that Baskin Robbins is similar to Ben & Jerry's, albeit with less chunky ingredients and more on thick linings (or "ribbons" as Robbins calls it) of deliciously sinful flavours like caramel, chocolate and peanut butter. For those who prefer balanced textures, without the crunches and munches, this could do well for you.

Very Berry Strawberry & Perils of Praline

No ice-cream lover would scrimp on a single scoop, and I for one normally start on two (and then complain later about double-chins haha!). I adored the Very Berry Strawberry, which was sweet, milky strawberry ice-cream with real strawberry bits in it. Refreshing stuff. The Perils of Praline, one of the few chunky ice-creams offered by Baskin Robbins, featured "vanilla frozen "low-fat" yogurt packed with pralined pecans and chocolate cookie pieces, with caramel ribbon throughout". A sinfully sweet concoction surely, but I liked it quite a lot too. Vanilla, chocolate, nuts and caramel, who would say no to that?

Peanut Butter and Chocolate

My little sister had the Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice-cream, which is more of chocolate ice-cream with a sliver of peanut butter throughout. Would be even better with chunky chocolate and/or nutty pieces though!

RM7.50 for a single scoop,
RM14.50 for a double scoop.

City Square Shopping Centre,
Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

J.B, Malaysia: Sedap Corner

25 August 2010

City Square is a fairly large shopping mall just a few minutes walk away from the Causeway, and anyone would guess that it was purpose-built for Singaporeans. Here you can get your Kenny Rogers, Nando's, Swensen's (named Seasons here), Starbucks, J Co. Doughnuts and what not all at "reduced" prices because of the weaker Malaysian currency. But I won't really bore you with restaurants and cafés that you can find in Singapore, so here instead is a small and humble eatery serving decent (Malay)Asian fare.

Phad Thai

For a place that does not style itself up as a Thai eatery, I must have been taking a gamble when I ordered the Phad Thai. Still, and very fortunately so, this turned out to be very good indeed, with the spicy chilli flakes and crunchy peanuts adding the all too familiar flavour and texture to the dish. I was a little amused to find a serving of sugar as well, but I put that aside and the noodles were perfectly fine without it.

Nasi Briyani

The Nasi Briyani was something that got the thumb-ups too. The rice was fresh and fragrant enough, while the curry was thick and flavourful.

Chicken Curry

The Chicken Curry on the other hand was a bit more watery than the one used for the briyani, and as such could not carry the flavour and spice of the dish well. Plentiful portion of chicken and potatoes aside, I would not order this again if I ever return.

Sedap Chicken Plate

The Sedap Chicken Plate wasn't as "sedap" (tasty or delicious) as promised as the fried chicken was a tad too overdone and dry.

Beansprouts with Salted Fish & Sambal Kangkong

Some vegetables for a balanced, healthy diet haha. They were passable I guess. One tip to anyone planning to have lunch or dinner here: try to go for the à la carte hot-plate dishes, they looked really good and that's something many people were ordering.

P/S: Since I was talking about how food is cheaper here in Malaysia, can you imagine how cheap (when converted to SGD) their McDonald's McValue Lunch is when it starts from RM5.95? S$2.60 for a Mcdonald's meal anyone?


RM9.90 for the phad thai
RM8.90 for the nasi briyani
RM12 for the chicken curry
RM8.90 for the sedap chicken plate
RM7.90 for the beansprouts with salted fish
RM7.90 for the sambal kangkong

City Square, Level 2
Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

J.B, Malaysia: Kai Xuan Chinese Restuarant

23 August 2010

Halal dim sum is a rarity in Singapore, but then again I would expect the purists to argue that there is no "real" dim sum if it has gone no pork - no lard anyway. For those who choose to press on with this unique mission however, an advice would be to get that passport out and be ready to cross the Causeway.

Kai Xuan Chinese Restaurant at Puteri Pacific Hotel may be a good place to start, and is one that doesn't require much travelling time as well. With the hotel situated less than a ten minute drive away from the Johor checkpoint (and with a safe carpark that I can vouch for) it is probably no less troublesome as driving from Bukit Panjang to say, Tampines or East Coast.

The Puteri Pacific Hotel has a few restaurants - Western/Asian, Chinese, Mediterranean and Italian - and at last count they were all Halal-certified, so good news for our Muslim friends out there. For our purposes today, we focus on Kai Xuan Chinese Restaurant and its attractive RM34++ dim sum à la carte buffet. It would be best to skip breakfast to save space to feast :)

Century Egg Porridge with Shredded Chicken

The Century Egg Porridge is a good and heart-warming starter for those who must have their bit of rice, but otherwise I wouldn't spend too much time or calories on this.

BBQ Chicken Chee Cheong Fun

I really enjoyed this rendition of the Chee Cheong Fun, as it not only has a slightly spicy chilli base to whet your appetite but also a sweet and juicy chicken filling that can be quite addictive. In contrast, the scallop or prawn chee cheong fun were not as delicious.

Nonya Style Steamed Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf

The Steamed Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf came nicely wrapped, with a hearty portion of rice and meat. Taste wise, I think I've had better ones, or it could just be that I didn't quite take to the hint of (what I believe to be so) salted egg yolk. One puzzling thing about this restaurant is that it doesn't serve the dim sum staples of fan choy or lor mai kai. Come to think of it, I should have asked why.

BBQ Chicken Buns

The BBQ Chicken Buns take after their pork-filled counterparts, the char siew baos, and turned out to be more satisfying than I would expect. Sweet and juicy fillings just like the ones used in the chee cheong fun I mentioned above.

BBQ Chicken Pie

I was curious about what the BBQ Chicken Pie would be like, but it was actually just the Halal-version to the char siew sou. Thick and flaky crust with a piping hot centre. As compared to the sweeter BBQ chicken fillings of the "funs" and the "buns", this one in particular has a slight black pepper touch to it. Not bad.

Deep-Fried Prawn Beancurd Rolls

The Deep-Fried Prawn Beancurd Rolls was a table pleaser and there were multiple orders of this. Crisp beancurd skin with small chunks of juicy prawns in the middle, I like.

Deep-Fried Wantons

Another deep-fried item, the Deep-Fried Wantons were sadly not as tasty as the prawn beancurd rolls. I think it has to do with the lack of fillings and an overdose on the wanton skin.

Pan-Fried Carrot Cake

The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake was quite disappointing. I wished it was thicker and not this thin and (overly) crispy.

Seafood Mango Rolls

Since we're on the deep-fried track, let's serve up two more. The Seafood Mango Rools presented a more unique flavour to the table, a balanced mix of sweet and savoury.

Crispy Yam Puffs

The Crispy Yam Puffs were really quite good. I liked the hot and generous ooze of sweet yam paste and yam bits inside. Delicious.

Crystal Prawn Dumpling

More popularly known as har gow, the Crystal Prawn Dumplings were delightful gems to behold, and eat! I think this is the best har gow that I've eaten so far, with the skin being adequately thin and the prawns inside fantastically fresh and juicy. Relish every bite!

Fresh Scallop Dumpling

As the name suggests, the Fresh Scallop Dumpling came out fresh, but somehow the scallops weren't as sweet and juicy as the prawns from the har gow.

Siew Mai

A dim sum staple, the Siew Mai was pretty good with a meaty filling.

Steamed Shark's Fin "Siew Mai" Dumpling

If you mix dumplings and siew mais together, it would not be surprising to come up with a Siew Mai Dumpling as your product. This was exactly what Kai Xuan has done, and with some success.

Homemade Fish Balls

I was wondering what difference would Homemade Fish Balls make (as compared to the factory-produced ones), but the taste and texture was quite distinct. It's fresher and more "chewy" that's for sure, and certainly less "artificial"-tasting as well. Tastes great with the Thai sweet chilli sauce.

Steamed Chicken Wing in Black Bean Sauce

The Steamed Chicken Wing in Black Bean Sauce wasn't exactly my cup of tea, and it would also have been better if it was full wing parts than chopped up parts.

Deep-Fried Sesame Balls

One of my favourites. The Deep-Fried Sesame Balls arrived warm on the outside with a piping hot inside, nice! The sesame paste was sweet, smooth and rice, all that you can ask for really.

Shanghai Pancake

The Shanghai Pancake was quite satisfying as well. The flaky (but not crumbling) crust added a crisp texture to the otherwise sweet and smooth bean paste. Lovely.

Crispy Egg Tarts

The Crispy Egg Tarts taste better than they look, cute as they may be. I really liked the buttery crust and egg-filled centre, and if I had space I would have gone for multiple servings of these heh. Greedy me.

Chilled Almond Beancurd with Longan

Simple dessert, here's something cooling to soothe the throats after all that deep-fried stuff surely.

Chilled Honeydew with Sago

If you like something with a slightly milky base, this could do for you.

Mango Pudding

Finally, a small glass of Mango Pudding to wrap up this really long post. All-in-all, pretty good dim sum with many hits (and admittedly, some misses), but if it's going to be any better the restaurant had better roll out my favourite fan choy and lor mai kai.


RM34++ per person.

Puteri Pacific Hotel,
Jalan Abdullah Ibrahim,
Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Beside The Kotaraya and 5mins walk from City Square.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

J.B, Malaysia: Ramly Burger

19 August 2010

Me and my family spent the long National Day weekend in Johor Bahru and I thought it went quite well actually (note: we came back in time to catch the NDP on TV, so don't question our patriotism please!). The food was relatively cheap and we indulged happily in simple things like A&W, Baskin Robbins and dim sum (some of these will be covered in the posts to come), all in the name of good fun. What I really came for however, is what you see here in near abundance - Ramly Burger patties!

You don't get many frozen Ramly Burger patties in Singapore supermarkets, if any to start with, and if you do it's usually the chicken ones rather than the more appetising beef patties. It's certainly not 100% pure meat, there's bit and pieces of... what nots, but nevertheless it's still very satisfying stuff. Comfort food, if you will.

And it's really cheap when you convert it back to SGD too, considering it's only RM$3.70 for six unassuming but tasty patties in a packet. I've already gotten the burger buns, the mayo and the chilli sauce, and all I have to do is spin it the way they do it at the night bazaars. Oh, yum yum.

Of course, I'm probably going to put on more weight as well. HAHA.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

The Atrium Deli @ Pan Pacific Hotel II

17 August 2010

The whole weekend burned because of meetings and attending to foreign delegates? I'm not really complaining actually, it's interesting work and it's always nice to meet new people. Of course, at times it got a little tiring so there was a need for something sweet to perk myself up. This was where the Chocolate Pecan Tart came in. Thick with chocolate and chunky with peanuts, this tart was so rich that even I needed multiple glasses of iced water to wash it down. I was grateful for the sour peach slices to balance the sweetness and richness of it all, but somehow I still could not bring myself to finish the whole slice alone.


* Price subject to 7% GST and 10% service charge if cake is consumed at The Atrium.

The Atrium Deli,
Pan Pacific Hotel.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

The Bistro @ NUSS Suntec City Guild House II

12 August 2010

You may have read about my dinner at NUSS Suntec City's The Bistro, but here is a post on its new August set menu that features a fusion theme. In case you hadn't known, entry to The Bistro is for NUSS members only, but of course you can always get a member to bring you in. The Suntec City Guild House also has a grill night on weekends, and I do hope I can find some time to try that soon!

Complimentary Garlic Bread

Dinner this time round at The Bistro was with Ms Sugar Elaine, who I must add is a grand pastry chef in the making. I have every faith in her that she will be a big name in the industry in the years to come.

Cream of Wild Mushroom

The Cream of Wild Mushroom was not too bad, the kind with grainy mushroom bits that I very much prefer to the white, soupy types. A good blend of portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms.

Grilled Prawns & Baby Scallops with Goma Chilli Jam on Agedashi Tofu

I felt a little "cheated" with my choice of appetiser. The name Grilled Prawns & Baby Scallops with Goma Chilli Jam on Agedashi Tofu was a bit of a misnomer in itself because there was only one prawn and one scallop to speak of. Simple but with little flavour to it.

Cured Sichuan Pepper Salmon with Sweet Wasabi Dressing on a Bed of Fresh Mesclun Leaves

Ms Sugar's choice appetiser looked pretty but probably too healthy for me haha.

Five-Spice Honey Roast Duck with Peppercorn Cream and Boiled Red French Beans

You know I love my duck, like the awesome duck confit at The Black Sheep Café, or the roast Nantaise duck from the Michelin-starred Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala in Milan. The Five-Spice Honey Roast Duck with Peppercorn Cream is definitely something worthy of mention as well, because I really liked the tenderness of the duck as well as the addictive peppercorn cream sauce. I do wish there was more duck to indulge in!

Oven Roasted Chilean Cod Steak

Ms Sugar wanted a change for her main course, and chose the Oven Roasted Chilean Cod Steak from the à la carte menu. It was a big chunk of cod for sure, and she did say it was quite good.

Baked Almond Peach Tart with Vanilla Ice-Cream

I gave the set menu's dessert a chance but it turned out to be quite disappointing because of its (tiny) size. While I liked the flaky crust and sweet insides, it's just too small to be satisfying at all.

Orange Cheesecake

Best advice? Order from the à la carte menu, and besides all you pay is 50% of its labelled price. Ms Sugar's choice of an Orange Cheesecake was as good as my Mango Passion Cheesecake from my previous visit, and for almost the same reasons too. We liked how the sweet and tangy orange flavour (with orange bits too) mixed so well with the slightly sour and smooth cheesecake.


$28++ for the four-course set meal(comes with free flow soft drinks as well as coffee or tea at the end of the meal),
Additional $3.50++ for the cream of wild mushroom soup,
Additional $14.00++ for the oven roasted chilean cod steak,
Additional $3.50++ for the orange cheesecake.

Suntec City, Level 5.

Additional Comment
For members only. Members, however, are allowed to bring guests.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

The Bistro @ NUSS Suntec City Guild House

10 August 2010

You've heard me shower praises on The Dunearn at NUSS' Bukit Timah Guild House, so I thought you might be interested in another place from NUSS - The Bistro at NUSS' Suntec City Guild House. Unlike The Dunearn however, access to The Bistro is strictly for members only, but you can always get a current member to take you there. The Bistro actually features a more varied menu than The Dunearn, and I realise many of the customers are actually here for the decent spread of Asian dishes. Most importantly to me, The Bistro provides a little sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially on weekend evenings.

Complimentary Garlic Bread

The Bistro serves up a monthly set menu that is priced at $25++ for a three course meal and $28++ for a four course meal. Courses can be changed to any item on the à la carte menu, but you would have to pay 50% of the item's labelled price. This post features July's menu, but stay tuned because the next post gives you a peek at August's menu!

San Francisco Inn Seafood Gumbo
Okra and Farmer's Greens simmered in Tomato Broth with Crab Meat and Shrimp

The San Francisco Inn Seafood Gumbo was decent, albeit a little watery. What I liked about it was the noticeable amounts of (real) crab meat and shrimp in the soup.

Los Angeles Cioppino
Fresh Tiger Prawn, Mussel, Crab Meat, Fish and Clams cooked in Tomato Basil Sauce on Pasta

I chuckled when my main course arrived because the prawns were much smaller than the ones shown on the menu. Still, the Los Angeles Cioppino proved to be much better than expected, as the seafood stew base was quite flavourful indeed and went very well with the pasta. Fresh ingredients too, I must add.

Southern Fried Cajun Fish Fillet with Citrus Butter Sauce

The dinner partner Daphne had the Southern Fried Cajun Fish Fillet, which I thought looked quite nice and wasn't overdone.

Mango Passion Oreo Cheesecake

The set menu's dessert (California Raisin Cheesecake drizzled with Fresh Coulis) did not sound very enticing to us, and so we decided to opt for a couple of other items from the à la carte menu. I liked my Mango Passion Oreo Cheesecake because it had a really good mix of the sweet, fruity tang of the mango bits, familiar chocolate goodness of the Oreos, and of course the sweet-sour taste of soft and smooth cheesecake. Yums.

Apple Crumble

Daphne's choice of an Apple Crumble came in a pretty generous portion and turned out to be quite satisfying as well. The crumble scored on both its crisp crust and delicious caramelised apple slices.


$25++ each for the three-course set meal(comes with free flow soft drinks as well as coffee or tea at the end of the meal),
Additional $3.85++ and $4.10++ for the cheesecake and crumble respectively.

Suntec City, Level 5.

Additional Comment
For members only. Members, however, are allowed to bring guests.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

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