Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hong Kong Happy Valley - Sun Cheong Heng

One of the best things about living in Happy Valley is the never ending variety of food options.. among the variety is Sun Cheong Heng on Yik Yam Street, an institution as far as "cha chan tengs" go.. It is probably safe to assume that they have never refurbished the place since it started in the (oh I'm guessing..) 60s. But the staples are always great! Not healthy but fun food for those who are clued into the Hong Kong local food scene. Of worthy mention - the dinner roll stuffed with a corn beef scramble. A yummy snack for any time of day. The other very competent dishes of macaroni with ham and egg, open faced toast with an over easy sunny side egg are also worth trying. All washed down with a silk stocking milk tea... quintessentially Hong Kong.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Singapore - Wahiro (revised)

2 months ago, I had a bad experience at Wahiro (perhaps my worst there) but when I was there again this weekend, they seem to have turned around and caught some of the mistakes at my table during my last visit. The quality seems to have returned - ths shima aji sashimi was perfect in its texture and temperature so that the freshness was discernible. Also worth mentioning was the uni sushi which was a burst of sweet creamniness from the uni coupled with the well vinegared rice. Heaven..

Another simple yet well executed dish was their signature goma (sesame) tofu with a sweet miso mayo baked on the top was sooo good yet not heavy. I could have had several on my own if I had not needed to share it. Oh well, I know to order a second next time.

The rest of the dinner was competent kushiyaki sticks with my favourite mochi wrapped in pork and grilled to a crisp on the outside and hints of the smoky pork coming through.

Ending off with soumen which was light and chilled and then matcha ice cream with smooth red bean paste on the top was perfect for a humid and sticky night.

Good food and spending time with my favourite cousin before he goes off to Melbourne for the next 3 years was a great idea. A pity we don't get to do this more often..

Singapore - Imperial Treasure Great World City

Saturday night... bad idea to head to Great World City in Singapore. It's been such a while I forgot how parking can be a nightmare.

Rushing for Kung-Fu Panda, the much hyped animated action movie, I was determined not to be late but still have my decent dinner and eat it too. With just an hour, I was worried that we would not make it given that we were going to sit down to a Chinese dinner at Imperial Treasure. Thankfully, with the family cuisine available on the menu, the kitchen could whip something which met our palates for a timely pre-movie dinner.

For 2 people, we had the daily boiled soup of gourd and lean pork.. it did taste better than it sounds of course although a little thin as compared with home.. probably because the kitchen was running low. We then had sea perch stir fried with preserved olive, kow kei vegetable in superior stock, and the very homestyle claypot tofu with chicken and salted fish, all perfect for wolfing down my entire bowl of white rice! All the dishes were competently done, even though the fish was a tad oily. But given its natural oiliness, perhaps the chef could have been less heavy handed.

All in all, a comfort meal, with 10 minutes to spare for my Cherry's Garcia at Ben & Jerry's before heading into the cinema for action-packed animation.

A highly recommended evening for anyone looking for simple pleasures!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happiness is..

cooking and eating at home..

Don't get me wrong, I love trying new restaurants, and eating at great ones who've withstood the test of time and fads but now and then, I love the simplicity of home cooked food. The heartiness of the food come from the love gone into cooking it. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a lot of salt, msg nor oil to make a dish good.

Of course, the greatness is any true Cantonese household is the soup.. the one with the chock full of ingredients which has been boiling for eternity - ah, the rich blend of everything thrown into the pot, converging into a taste that's out of this world. And the best thing is: it's supposed to be good for you!

So hopefully, I have time and energy to continue to make these meals. Maybe if I get better at it, I will start sharing pics and recipes. For now, I will keep at it and find more guinea pigs to try my creations on, but if not, I will be visiting with mom and grandma even more often..

Either way, I know my health will benefit greatly!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Singapore - Tomo Fine Dining

Those who remember Thomas the friendly chef at the Raffles' Hotel's Kaisen restaurant will be disappointed with where he is now, tucked in an annexe of Marina Square, which houses mid-range restaurants which tout competitive prices rather than fine dining. Thomas' new restaurant Tomo Fine Dining matches its neighbours in mid-scale quality but unfortunately at fine dining prices.

Thomas' choice of name, location and staff are all questionable. The food was mediocre and there were more than hints of trying too hard to manage costs at the price of quality. His questionable choice of using the cheapest and toughest cuts of beef for his hotpot, inability to provide quite a number of choices from the standard menu, staff who could not decide when to be attentive and when not to be, including the inability to manage just 3 outdoor tables (getting food delivered to the wrong table 50% of the time) makes this new venture difficult to sustain, I would think. I hope I am wrong but instead of sullying the goodwill which he has built up over the years, I think Thomas is better off repositioning Tomo as a mid-range family restaurant, especially since the many pictures of value sets for lunch and dinner is already consistent with the theme...

Good luck Thomas.. I hope you manage a turnaround somehow. We need you back!