Friday, March 30, 2007
I'm involved in a torrid affair.
An affair so hot and messy that I get teary as it gets fiesty.
How long has this been going? It's been so long that I've lost count! Whatever it is, I believe I have my Dad to thank. Obviously you dear readers know what I'm talking about.
My affair with all things spicy that is.
I'm inspired to write this post after reading Leo's Red Hot Love Affair. He's another person I know who loves chilli as much as I do. Seriously, it's a love that surpasses all others. Come on, to love something that burns you or chokes you or makes you tear?
You must be thinking "who's she kidding, she's obviously mad!".
I am mad! Madly in love with chilli. I was nodding my head the entire time as I was reading Leo's bond with the red hot spicy gem. All of you chilli-lovers should read it! We should have our own Chilli Club - we'd go round the island searching for the best chilli: be it sambal belachan, chilli padi, chicken rice garlic chilli, etc...
Why do I sound so obsessed with something that sounds torturing? Trust me, I do have a 1001 reasons. But perhaps if you realise that as much as it is painful, it is this pain that makes it so endearing. Wait... I know i know, you must be thinking what a sadist I am. I don't necessary adore pain, but I am unpredictable and I totally dig the spontaneous rush I get from consuming chilli. Sometimes you never know how spicy it gets or how lousy it is. That's the excitement of eating chilli.
Heck, I'm adventurous. I've even tried Dave's Insanity Sauce.
Yes, you read right: INSANITY Sauce. It's really a hot sauce that promises to make you cry and run straight to the freezer. What's this about? You see, red habaneros make up the bulk of the sauce. I've read that this was the only sauce banned from hot sauce competitions because it was simply too hot! Before you dismiss this information, let me tell you, I've tried it!
A few years ago, I was at my photojournalism lecturer's place with my classmates for a farewell do. We ordered pizza and were happily chowing down on dough & meat when Mr. Umehara (that's my lecturer's name) brought out this delicate bottle with the words Insanity Sauce.
Me, being the ultimate chilli lover quietly dismissed the label and tried some. I didn't believe what he said (about it being the hottest sauce ever) so I tried it on the pizza....
GUESS what happened?
My tongue burst into flames.
Then it fell to the ground, black and ashen.
Just then, I wished I had Harry Potter's wand to fix my tongue.
Hmmm. HAHA. Pardon my lame attempt to include magic on this blog!
Anyhow, it was seriously seriously hot. Thing is, I only put a drop! This is lethal stuff I thought. Geez! My classmates and I were pretty excited. Haha... we decided to play a prank on those who arrived late. We 'hid' drops of the sauce in the pizza and offered it to latecomers.
No tongue was spared. Everyone looked as though they were eating fire. It was that strong! I will never forget that experience. I believe Mr. Umehara bought it from the States but he said he saw it sold here somewhere. I've been looking high and low for it but to no avail.
Since then, my eyes widen whenever I see bottles of hot sauce because I would really love to relive that insane experience simply for the kick (or to play pranks) :p
Now now, I'm not an evil person! I just like to have fun. So since I don't have any insanity sauce with me, I'll just have to make do with my old favourite Tabasco.
But I've recently discovered something that's quite easy on the tastebuds - Cholula Hot Sauce. I believe it's Mexican but even though it doesn't pack as much punch as Dave's Insanity sauce, it works well because of its slightly tangy undertone. A bottle costs $2.30 and I found it at Mustafa Centre. I've been eating it with almost anything! I have to go back to get more though... it's finishing soon.
Hey, I've an idea, someone should bring Dave's Insanity Sauce here! Or better yet, if you know any place that sells it, drop me and email! Best, if you're in the States and are coming back, could you kindly get me a bottle? I will bake you cookies I promise! :D
Thursday, March 29, 2007
It's been some time since I had some kickass nasi lemak!
So when Grace asked me out for dinner at Chong Pang, I really couldn't say no. Besides, I've never eaten at the original Chong Pang. Grace eats there pretty often because it's near her place and now I know why it's gotten so much publicity.
What makes a good nasi lemak? Every one has their own preferences. For me, the sambal must be ultra sedap - not too sweet and not too oily. The rice mustn't be clumpy; it should be fragrant but not too overpowering. Coconut milk shouldn't drown out the lightness of the rice. Ahhhh then there's...
TWO other things...
Ikan bilis with peanuts:
By the time we got to Chong Pang, it was around 9+ and both Grace and I were starving.
That explains the full plate. Heh it's an easy guess which is mine.
The first two shots of a very very full plate - that's mine... Together with lots and lots of sambal.
Hey, I WAS hungry! And I'm proud to say that I finished every grain of it. I even had an extra chicken wing!
My my... to tell you the truth, I am not a fan of fried chicken wings, but this Chong Pang one really won me over. It was so fresh and crispy that I gave in and within minutes, the chicken wing was in my tummy... Slurp. Satisfying.
Here's Grace's plate:
Her egg looks nice! And the hashbrown was yummy too.
By the time we were done, both of us had a HUGE grin on our faces.
You don't have to guess how happy we were..... I'll give you a rough idea:
Grace and I trying to include our food in the shot!
Now now, I really don't mind travelling all the way down to Yishun again. Although I don't live too near the area. This is one nasi lemak worth the long bus ride.
Sedap! (Malay for delicious). Gracie babe, thanks for the recommendation and the great company. We have to go back there again soon! Wins - you really missed out :p
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak
447 Sembawang Road
Open: 5pm to 3am daily.
Friday, March 23, 2007
When you're a busy busy student, you sometimes get rather deprived.
I'm referring to deprivation of good solid food. When you're in a rush, there's simply no time to sit down for a proper meal. This has been the case for me for the past weeks at SMU. Maybe it's the timetable. I find myself running from Point A to Point B, grabbing a sandwich to go or Subway in between lectures.
*Yawn* How boring can it be? So I try as much as possible to have at least a good meal each week with friends and family to make up for it. And when I say make up for it, I do mean business. So my dinners tend to be heavy ones because I'll be so famished by the time classes end in the evening that I always feel as though I could eat an entire cow.
Soooo... last week, I met up with Grace, Winston & JF for a great Mexican dinner. This is the beginning of what I'll call 'Iguana Mania'. Winston has eaten there before. I've only walked past this place many times - I know that it's beside Brewerkz. To be honest, I didn't even though it sold Mexican food. Talk about being ignorant! :p
However, I'm glad I went there for dinner and we all had so much fun! JF had to leave early though - what a waste. Grace, Winston & I had such a blast I tell ya! Love them both to bits - they're really fun people to makan with. We're planning to do this on a regular basis. I should give it a name - the Perpetually Hungry Trio. How about that? haha... Dear Grace would agree with me, I know.. Right Grace?
All right, time to let the photos do the talking. You've seen the nachos above ya? They're really crispy and I love the salsa. The guacamole could be creamier though. But over all, it was nice to have a snack to keep our tummies from rumbling too much. We were really hungry!
Fickle me took a long time deciding what to get. In the end, I heeded the advice of the waiter and ordered the Green Chile Stew (SG$12.99) from the 'Platas' (dishes served with barracho beans and lime-scented cilantro rice) category. The famous carne de pueroco en chile verde (stewed pork) was served with house-made flour tortillas, sour cream and rice.
I liked the stew but wish they had given me more. Heh there were more beans than stew I think! But it was delicious. Love the cilantro rice. Well I'm a huge fan of cilantro anyway.
Winston had the Camarones al Diablo (prawns sauteed with fiery habanero chile, capsicum, ginger, cumin and lime, served with cheese quesadillas - SG$14.99). He let us try some and boy were the prawns fresh. Love the marinate. It has a slightly sweet and tangy aftertaste. Wonderful.
JF ordered the Flank Steak (SG$18.99) from the 'Fajitas' (sizzling platter served with flour tortillas, sauteed onions and peppers, sour cream and guacamole) category. It was rather fun to make - kinda D-I-Y tortilla wrapping session. But I think he left the meat on the hot plate too long so it ended up being a bit dry.
Grace on the other hand, had the winning dish:
She had the New York Steak (SG$21.99) from the 'Tequila Grill' (Lime marinated meat finished with a smoky and spicy tequila glaze served with grilled vegetables and poblano-scalloped potatoes) category.
THIS was the bomb! It was doubly juicy and really tasty! Oh the wonders Tequila does to a steak. I'm convinced that it works. Am definitely going to order this the next time we visit Cafe Iguana.
Dear Wins then treated us to a Strawberry Macho Magarita (SG$14.99). Am not much of a drinker so it was Grace's and Wins' responsibility to finish it up. ha!
That night was fantastic. There's nothing better than a night out with great food, excellent company and even better conversations. We bonded and laughed and even went to Starbucks for dessert! Greedy greedy us. Well that's why I say we should be named "Perpetually Hungry Trio".
I'm in love with the Iguana. I even brought home the coaster. Haha... well like they say... food is best remembered when shared with great friends.
30 Merchant Road
#01-03 Riverside Point
Monday, March 19, 2007
Creme brulee is a timeless dessert. There's nothing like a well baked brulee that is so smooth that it slides down your throat like slippery butter. I get excited when I tuck into a creme brulee. Tapping the sugar layer slowly in order to break it - that act in itself contains the anticipation of a eager woman (such as I) who simply cannot wait to taste sweet custard with vanilla beans. I love that sensation. You know, when both custard and vanilla intertwine and give you that sense of surreal calm as you taste it with your tongue. Mmmm....
But as much as I love eating creme brulee. Not all creme brulee can be eaten. Or at least, I bought an inedible creme brulee. No, don't be shocked. It is nothing serious really. By inedible, I don't mean that I've tried an absolutely horrible creme brulee. Nah... I haven't had the misfortune of facing such a disappointing encounter.
It's just that I love creme brulee that much to purchase this:
Yea yea... I want to smell like creme brulee. What's wrong? It's lovely! Seriously, if you love creme brulee, you should get a bottle for yourself. It really smells of creme brulee. I kid you not. Since I bought it, I've been having a most delightful aromatic experience everytime I shower. I wonder if they have it in tiramisu 'flavour'. I would buy 10 bottles immediately :p
Ta-dah! Nature's Organics Spa Creme Brulee. Definitely not for those who hate smelling like dessert lest you end up attracting ants. Hmmm no ants have bitten me so I guess it's safe. My new creme brulee shower milk is not only nice-smelling, it really wraps round my skin like milk. Very moisturising. I know this is a food blog and I'm starting to sound as if I'm a sales person selling shower milk - but really, this is good stuff. It's creme brulee! It has a tinge of vanilla fragrance together with a custard-y scent. This is gorgeous. Contains shea butter too.
In case you're wondering, I bought mine from NTUC Fair Price. :)
Sunday, March 11, 2007
What happens when you are starving and seriously so hungry that you could eat a cow?
Choose from the below options:
a) I would settle for the first stall/restaurant/eatery I see and eat whatever they sell
b) I run to 7-11 to buy myself a cup of instant noodles
c) I swallow my saliva unwillingly and distract myself because I'm too lazy to get off my chair
d) I walk and explore patiently, believing that good food will come my way if I just practise patience and wait till my heart tells me this is the one.
So which did you choose?
Did you pick the easiest options? OR
did you go with option d?
If you chose option d then we have something in common.
Weird choice you might think but I have a rationale.
Good food is worth the walk; besides walking helps work up an appetite and heck, it's healthy!
I went for sunset mass at OLPS yesterday and was ravenous by the time it ended and it was about 8pm when JF and I started walking around the area searching for something delicious and substantial.
Just when I thought I had to settle for the usual rice with mixed vegetables, I spotted a large green sign that read "Thondamans Restaurant - Authentic Curry Fish Head". I couldn't take my eyes off the sign and started to suggest that we dine there.
Blame it on my love for Indian food but I really can't say no to curry! We walked closer and saw the menu - they sold thosai! I love eating thosai and have been wanting to eat some. Then the owner who was mopping the entrance told us to come in. We were checking out the menu (too intently i guess!) and he gestured us to come try the food, and promised that it will be cheap. We were sold. haha... well by then I had decided what to eat, so we entered the place.
I wanted some meat, dhal and vegetable so we ordered mutton masala, snake gourd, dhal, and the usual thosai.
The food was tasty and really up-to-standard. The mutton was so tender and the gravy thick and rich. I loved it. Even JF was impressed. I couldn't stop chowing down my thosai with the gravy, including the dips that came with the thosai. Everything was so fresh and yummy that I stopped talking for a while. The raita was refreshing. I love anything with yoghurt.
Midway, JF asked me if I was full (that's his way of saying that he was still hungry) and I told him, sure, we'll order more!
So we ordered sambal fish briyani and we were taken by surprise (in a good way) when this appeared:
That's alot of rice! It came in a metal steel bowl and the fish was in the middle of the rice together with an egg. The set came with some pappadums together with more tasty curry.
We put the rice on a plate and started eating every grain, with big mouthfuls. The owner must have been frightened at the amount we were eating! hahaa...
I liked the sambal fish although it tasted different from the usual sambal. There was more of a fresh chilli taste. I loved the briyani; they cooked it really well with the right amount of spices and it was really fragrant.
We were seriously stuffed. I felt sooo full but I was really happy. As I've mentioned before, if you succeed in feeding me something yummy, I will be your best friend for life :p
And I think the owner will be seeing more of me in time to come.... I still have to try their curry fish head. Okay, now I'm drooling... AGAIN!
No. 324P, Changi Road
P.S. They do catering as well!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I've been blessed to meet plenty of lovely people at SMU. Even though I'm literally on exchange from Kent Ridge to City Hall (haha.), I feel as if I'm in another country all together. It's probably also because of the friends I've made, especially Urszula. I know she reads my blog. Hey girl, I want to say that you're the sweetest! It's awesome hanging out with you!
Anyway she's an exchange student from Poland and I've learnt alot about her home country, especially how they celebrate Easter. It's amazing I tell you. Listening to her recounting events and what not - it really makes me want to visit Poland. Prior to meeting her, I will have to admit that I didn't know much about Poland - well except that the late Pope John Paul was from there, and they have nice polish sausages. How ignorant I must have been! Well I have Urszula here to educate me now so it's okay...
She went to Norway recently for a conference and brought some stuff back for me. That sweet dear; she's really thoughtful! This is some Norwegian brown cheese she bought for me to try:
That's that it looks like - brown. It might be too robust for some but I love it. It's not really smelly or pungent like blue cheese but it has a rich dark taste. It tastes good on its own or with some crackers. I love it! She told me that there are some people who love it and some who hate it.
Then there's Chrzan. It tastes very much like wasabi. I call it Polish wasabi. Ula didn't know what ingredients they used but I suspect it was horseradish. Yummy with cold meat, I had it with some ngoh hiah that day. :p
Barszcz. Something like Russian's Borsch; but slightly different...
Pudding & soft jelly drink mixes..
I know what you're thinking.... they're all in Polish, so how do I know what is what and how to use it? Ula gave me the instructions.. There were alot and I hope I remember them!
Oooo.. I stayed over at her place yesterday and we made Pierogi for dinner. It's some kind of Polish dumplings. My hands were dough-y so I couldn't really take photos. I will however try cooking them on my own at home for my family and let you know how it goes!
Monday, March 05, 2007
homecooked roasted duck - it was super yum. my aunt and grannie made it
Last Saturday was heaven. I totally dig Chinese New Year. Was at my aunt's place for dinner and boy did I had a satisfying meal. It was to celebrate the last day (also the 15th day) of the lunar new year. The actual day was Sunday but we had it on Saturday instead.
Remember what I said about family gatherings and how food is a central part? Seriously, I'm blessed... truly blessed! My fifth aunt did most of the cooking that day, with help from the rest of my aunts and the food was delicious.
I invited Urszula, my Polish classmate and she was truly bowled over by the amount of food. I'm happy to report that she loved everything she tried, including century eggs. She's such a dear... She bought back some Norwegian brown cheese, Chrzan and herbs plus some others from her recent trip to Norway for a conference. I'll post about that another time though.
Today I'm just going to let the pictures whet your appetite.....
Some vegetable dish that tasted good.
You got to check out this yam basket:
It's made from scratch! Looks so much like the ones you have in Chinese restaurants eh? But oh no no no, this one is made by my fifth aunt. I was really impressed!
I couldn't resist taking a photo of it at a different angle:
Yam never tasted this good.... Yummmm...
My aunt made Tiramisu too! I was sooooo happy! This tiramisu was to die for...
She used Martell instead of coffee liquer but you know what.. I think it worked well.
I know I should have taken more photos but I was too preoccupied - with eating (what else?).
We had yu sheng again - a HUGE one.
I'm so happy I have a family who appreciates good food and knows how to cook and bake as well. My aunts rock! I have so much to learn.... I will have to master the yam basket. Man.. it's just so good!
P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts - these few weeks have been really busy for me. Will post as much as I can. :) Have a great week!