Friday, November 27, 2009

Pu Tien @ Tampines Mall

After catching a movie today, hubby and I randomly walked into Pu Tien @ Tampines Mall for lunch today. No reservations, no expectations, nothing.

I've been a little shellfish crazy these days so I tried ordering bamboo clams. Unfortunately, they were not in season.

Thankfully, there was chili lala (or mussels). Not as piquant as the ones at hawker centres but satisfying nonetheless.


Better yet, I surprised myself by ordering a hairy crab (thinking to myself...what the hell..there's always a first time). Sensing my apprehension, a very nice elderly waitress patiently ripped apart the crustacean for me and even arranged it nicely on a plate. Thank you auntie!


and after

People always say the best part of a hairy crab is its roe. I couldn't agree more. The roe tastes like a cheesier version of uni-creamy, rich and finger licking good. Ditch the tiny morsels of meat and go straight for the roe!

Go for Gold

Other less exciting dishes ordered were battered eggplant with pork floss, sweet and sour pork with lychee...and of course, Pu Tien's very famous Hing Hwa fried bee hoon.

Notice how the eggplant is practically buried in the floss

Sweet and sour pork with lychees.. palatable but otherwise ordinary

I almost forgot how good the beehoon was. In fact, I liked it so much I forgot to take a picture of it. The strands of beehoon were so light and airy that they almost melted in my mouth. You've got to try it to believe it.

Our unexpectedly indulgent lunch set me poorer by 93 bucks (the crab alone cost SGD38 but came with complimentary dessert). Nonetheless, given the novelty of the experience, I guess it helps soothe the sting somewhat.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mistakes and what they mean

If a barber makes a mistake, it is a new style

If a driver makes a mistake, it is a new path

If a engineer makes a mistake, it is a new venture

If parents makes a mistake, it is a new generation

If a politician makes a mistake, it is a new law

If a scientist makes a mistake, it is a new invention

If a tailor makes a mistake, it is a new fashion

If a teacher makes a mistake , it is a new theory

If our boss makes a mistake, it is a new idea

If an employee makes a mistake,

It is a 'Mistake'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cards and Such

I've been a loyal subscriber of the Feed at Raffles card for donkey years.

When I initially took up membership, it seemed like a dream come true- 50% off the bill (for a table of 2 diners) at various fine restaurants like Bar and Billard Room, Plaza Market Cafe, Inagiku, Pregos and Ellenborough Market Cafe.

Unfortunately, 5 years, 10 kilos and hundreds of discounted meals later, the novelty seems to have died off. Prices have progressively increased at most of the restaurants and some dining discounts have been significantly reduced (e.g at Plaza Market Cafe, you no longer enjoy 50% off for 2 diners). The food selection and quality also seem to have somewhat deteriorated in restaurants like Bar and Billard Room.

The hunt has thus begun for other dining card alternatives. Several interesting ones have sprung up over the years and I've shortlisted the below few for serious consideration...

1) The White Card. Quite pricey at SGD535 per annum. However there is a current tie up with UOB where you can enjoy the card and accompanying privileges for an annual fee of SGD180. A discount structure similar to the Feed at Raffles Card applies. i.e. 50% food discount for 2 diners, 33% discount for 3 pax and 25% for 4. Restaurants covered are mid to upper tier (includes places like Cafe Iguana, Wild Rocket, Man Fu Yuan, Il Lido and Ko).

2) The iWish Card. Reasonably priced at SG98 per annum and fully transferable. Proceeds will be used to further charitable causes (e.g. job creation for the physically challenged). Most of the discounts offered are only applicable for weekday lunches. Participating restaurants include The Rice Table at International Building (1 for 1 set lunch and set dinner), Original Sin and Michelangelo's at Holland Village (1 for 1 weekday set lunch) and Zambuca at Pan Pacific (1 for 1 weekday set lunch).

3) eat @ Meritus Membership Card. You can get this card free when you apply for OCBC Platinum Mastercard, Titanium Mastercard or Artscard (first year annual fee is waived) Excludes co-branded cards like Robinsons, Best Denki and Ikea card. For existing OCBC Card Members holding OCBC Platinum Mastercard, Titanium Mastercard and Artscard, you can also get the card free by calling 62212340 and follow the instructions. A discount structure similar to the Feed at Raffles Card applies (i.e. 50% off for 2 diners, 33% off for 3 and 25% off for 4)

Participating restaurants are Chatterbox, Lobby Bar, Observation Lounge, Pine Court Triple Three (Meritus Mandarin @ Orchard), AquaMarine, Atrium Lounge, Peach Blossoms, Pool Garden, Restaurant Bologna (Marine Mandarin), Horizon and Cascade Pool Bar, Niyom Thai Restaurant, Pelangi Lounge, Spice Market Restaurant, Tepang Cenang Beach Bar, The Boat House BBQ Restaurant and Pub (Meritus Pelangi). On top of dining discounts, a host of other discounts ranging from a discounted weekend hotel stay (SGD120 nett inclusve of breakfast for 2) apply.

My advice- its a win-win situation- there's nothing to lose! Quickly grab the card before the offer expires on 31Dec09. After 1 year, if you find the card useless, cancel it!

4) Bakerzin Membership Card. Bakerzin is the next best thing to home cooked food on weekday evenings where we are too lazy to think of what to eat. The food is reasonably priced with a wholesome selection of western and asian favorites. At SGD20, this card entitles you to 10% off all meals (20% on your birthday month). You also get a whole stash of welcome treats valued at over SGD60. (these include a box of 6 assorted macrons, a free dessert, tea, soup of the day as well as a free snack). What's there not to like about Bakerzin?

5) The Hyatt Membership Card.
Benefits include a dining card with a discount structure similar to the Raffles Card at all participating restaurants in Hyatt (e.g. Pete's Place, Straits Kitchen, Mezza9), free carpark coupons valued at SGD72 and a SGD120 dining voucher.

From now till 31Dec09, sign up for this card at a discounted rate of SGD348 (usual price SGD408). Prices exclude GST.

H's Beef Stew

On cold rainy days like these, its always nice to cuddle up at home and treat yourself to a steaming bowl of stew.

My previous attempts at making stew have not been very successful. I tried making Nonya Tau Yew Bak a couple of months back but failed miserably (apparently, the stew was not left to simmer long enough, resulting in tough strands of meat and bland tasting tau kwa).

H, on the other hand is a culinary maestro. She never fails to inspire. I am a huge fan of her rocky road brownies.

When H heard of my failed stew attempt, she generously shared her own favorite stew recipe with me. I tried it last weekend and am happy to report that it tastes delicious!

H's Beef Stew (serves 4)

The Ingredients

1kg beef (choose cuts which are suitable for stewing), cut into inch sized cubes
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 sticks of celery, cut into big chunks
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons of butter
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp each of dry basil and ground oregano
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp English mustard
1 rounded tblespoon of tomato paste (Hunt's brand)
1 small bottle of red wine
3 cups of water (or enough water to fully cover your meat)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbspn balsamic vinegar
Pita bread (slightly toasted)

Heat butter and fry onions under high heat.

When onions turn transluscent, add meat, ground nutmeg and herbs, stirring to prevent sticking to pot.
Pre-browned meat

Post browned meat

When meat browns, adjust to medium heat, add tomato paste and tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes.

Transfer to a pot. Add red wine, bay leaves and mustard. Stir well for 2 minutes. Then add water and balsamic vinegar.

Upon boiling, turn down to small fire. Add salt, sugar, carrots, celery and 2 potatoes and stew for 2 hours.

Thereafter, throw in the remaining potato and stew for a further 1 hour.

Viola. Its done!

Meat should be tender and break easily when pierced through with a fork

Leave to cool and put in fridge overnight (stew always tastes better when left overnight).

Serve with toasted pita bread the following day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Video of the Week

Infamous French prankster Remi Gaillard shows us who the REAL Batman is!

Once Upon A Milk Shake

Ice ice baby

I'm glad some bigwig has decided to convert Maxwell Chambers into what it is today. The ground level is now lined with promising food outlets, all waiting to be slowly explored and savored.

One such gem is dessert haven Once Upon a Milk Shake". Everything about the shop squeals cutesy.

The walls are splashed with cheery purple and white hues, the menu board resembles a slab of grass and even the milkshakes/ice creams sport strange sounding names (all trademarked!) like:

Agent Strawberry: 100% fresh strawberries
Grumbling raisins: Flavorful rum with rum soaked raisins
Chocolate Truffle Castle: Mouth watering chocolate with truffle bits
Nutty Peanut Butler: Smooth and creamy peanut butter with crunchy peanuts
Spooky mocha: Aromatic coffee beans with chocolate
Cerious maple: Maple syrup with crunchy maple cereals
Vainilla pot: Simple and rich vanilla flavour
Sir Cookies & Cream: Rich vanilla with good old (did they mean ol?) Oreo cookies
Pirate Queen Prach: 100% real peaches

The owner(s) must have pretty big plans for the shop. Check out the pretty milkshake containers (which come in mini and regular sizes). Even the serviettes are embossed with the restaurant's logo!

My only grouse? The seats are boxy, low and rather uncomfortable. Pricing also seems a little too steep for my liking- I paid abt 3 bucks for a mini (really mini!) 210ml cookies and cream milkshake which was gone in under 4 slurps. Nonetheless, it is evident that the shop uses quality ingredients for all its products. The vanilla ice cream used in my milkshake was studded with pretty little vanilla bean speckles and was sufficiently rich and smooth.

To ramp up patronage on weekends, the shop is running an "ice cream by candlelight" promotion every sat from 8-9pm where one can enjoy milkshakes and ice cream under candlelight (free parking!)

Given the dearth of good ice cream hangouts in the CBD area, this is one place I will definitely be returning to every time I need a quick ice cream fix after lunch.

Streaming for Food

As if streaming in schools wasn't bad enough, Botak Jones has now come up with a promotion to reward kids for their academic efforts using a similar method.

Here's how it works:
Grade Average above 85%: 10% off total bill and a free fish and chips for the (smart) kid
Grade Average 70-84%: 10% off total bill and a free mini me botak burger for the (not so smart) kid
Grade Average 50-69%: 10% off total bill and a free dessert for the (least smart) kid

Note: Grade Average: means average score of all subjects taken. Report book or photocopy of results has to be brought to shop for verification

For further details, check out the below poster:

I'm so glad I've already graduated from school. Imagine how demoralising it must feel to only qualify for a free dessert when the smarter kids in neighbouring tables have earned themselves a fish and chips.

Its tough being a kid these days.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Astons Specialities @ East Coast Road

A for Astons

I always thought Astons was a does one get by charging less than 20 bucks for a decent steak?

Thankfully, this is one instance where I am happy to be proven wrong. After what must have been a hundred procrastinations, I finally found the opportunity to visit the restaurant on a late Sunday evening without having to brave the infamous queue.

The restaurant's ambience is a cross between Burger King and Swensens, with practical booth seating and color tinted hanging lights. Perfect for casual family dinners.

There were hints of weariness on the young servers' faces and the floor felt a little grimy. Perhaps it was coming to closing time. I guess you can't expect tip top service/ambience when you are not paying top dollar.

Drinks are relatively cheap. I couldn't finish my mug of root beer (SGD1.80) but hubby happily gulped down 2 glasses of orange juice (SGD1.80 each). For mains, we ordered grilled fish with herbs and the New York Strip.

My fish dish tasted exactly how it looked- simply grilled and generously coated with herbs.and an asparagus cream sauce. At SGD7.20 a portion, you only get one small piece of fillet- so you will have to heavily rely on the sides to fill you up. Not recommended for big hungry men.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 sides of mashed potatoes and onion rings, The mashed potatoes were out of the world, with just the right amount of fluffiness, buttery goodness and brown gravy. Less exceptional but equally satisfying were the onion rings, which boasted sufficient crunch.

Hubby's New York Strip (SGD14.90) came perfectly grilled (medium rare). The accompanying mushroom sauce looked suspiciously like an enhanced version of the brown sauce used to douse the mashed potatoes. Nonetheless, it complemented the meat nicely.

We are secretly proud that despite its local origins, Astons has managed to hold its own in a market saturated with established angmoh steak joints. Whilst its no frills dining concept is evident in some areas, the restaurant more than makes up for it through its good value food offerings.

Hubby is already planning a return visit to try their promotional wagyu steak.

For a rundown of Aston's menu and prices, check out the below link: (the East Coast outlet falls under the Astons Specialities category)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Happy Monday

Let's face it. We Singaporeans aren't very happy people. Just check out the stoid expressions on people's faces when they make their way to work (esp on Monday mornings).

Guess the rat race can get rather stifling at times.

Thankfully, there are other places around the world where every other day of the week could just as well be coined Happy Day.

How great is that?

Happy Monday everyone!

You Go Gal!

South Korean granny passes driving test after 950 tries!

The Charm of Champagne

Hallo! Do you like champagne (or the idea of drinking champagne) but are deterred by the expensive price tag?

Here are 3 ideas how to enjoy champagne without burning a hole in your pocket:

1. Try your luck at winning some really good champagne from G.H.Mumm.

Instructions: Pen down your ideal home party concept in no more than 150 words and stand a chance to win your home style party pack!

Send all entries to:

The winner stands a chance to win 12 bottles of G.H.MUMM Champagne (worth $1,440) + $500 cash prize

Details can be found in the below link:

2. Alternatively, if you are a girl who absolutely adores champagne but lacks the knack for writing, round up 5 other girlfriends to form a party of 6 and head down to Majestic Bar anytime between 5-9pm for a free bottle of champagne. Although the champagne probably wouldn't taste as good as G. H. least its free! (Click here for details)

3. For ladies only. Visit the lovely Soma Bar at Tanglin Mall on Thursday evenings between 6-9pm to enjoy free flow champagne at 28++. For details, click on below link:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wanton Women

They've been at it for as long as I can remember...from pre-renovation East Coast Lagoon days up till present. You've just gotta salute em for their dedication- these wanton women.

I've loved wantons since young. Smooth, silky and dripping with gravy goodness. I swear I could just eat wantons from this shop and leave one happy customer. The secret's gotta lie in the chili, which bears hints of dried shrimp and crunchy salted fish. One bite and you will be instantly hooked. Word of warning though- this chili can pack quite a punch so do keep some cold drinks at bay!

Soggy wantons smothered in chili

Normal people would however make a beeline for the shop's famous barbeque pork noodles. The thin yellow noodles are doused with the same signature chili sauce- with a few slices of char siew and wantons thrown in for good measure. The noodles taste good regardless of whether they are eaten piping hot or soggy and stone cold. At only SGD3 per serving, this dish bears testament to the fact that sometimes, the best things in life do not have to cost an arm and leg.

Hwa Kee Barbeque Pork Noodles
East Coast Lagoon Food Centre
Stall No 45
(closed on Wednesdays)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Shared Moments @ Sushi Tei Competition

If you like taking pictures, this contest may just be the one for you.

Organised by Sushi Tei, all you have to do is to submit your best creative shot capturing a special moment experienced at any Sushi Tei outlet demonstrating why it is the special place for fun filled moments with your friends, family or loved ones.

Instructions for submission: Each photo is to be accompanied by a tagline of no more than 20 words telling a story, reflecting the atmosphere of the moment, the purpose of the gathering or simply what Sushi Tei means to you.

An example:
(A very lame) caption: I don't know what you do but you do it well- I'm under your spell.

Send entries to: with subject heading "Shared Moments at Sushi Tei photo competition" with your name, ic no, contact details and mailing address.

Deadline: 23 Nov09

For further details, click on the below link:

Prizes are attractive. First prize is a SGD500 sushi tei voucher, a fujifilm camera and a 1 yr magazine subscription. In addition, there are 5 consolation prizes comprising of SGD200 sushi tei vouchers and a 1 yr magazine subscription.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Tequila Blue

You know its Halloween when you step into a restaurant and see this:

Trick or treat

And this:

A hanging skull under the exit sign

Tequila Blue is the kind of restaurant/pub which exudes an unexplainable homely charm.

Mexican food ain't really my cup of tea but there are certain items in the menu which taste so good that I wouldn't mind coming back for seconds, thirds and more.

Starters (SGD4.50). Nachos with chilled guacamole dip. Crisp and refreshing.

Chicken chimichanga (SGD13.95). Battered Mexican-style spring rolls stuffed with chicken, gooey cheese and mixed peppers. Topped with tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream, green chilli and all things nice. The accompanying sides of black beans and rice were hearty and delicious.

Chilli Colorado (SGD14.50). We mistakenly expected the dish to resemble chili con carne. What we got instead was a shredded chili beef stew seeped in a tomato reduction. The beef tasted pretty good on its own but was probably meant to be eaten with the accompanying sides of nachos and rice.

Apple Mojito (SGD10): A mix of rum, apple soda and lime. Decent but not mindblowing. I should have opted for a magarita instead.

On top of the ala carte menu, the restaurant also offers BBQ favorites like steaks, burgers, sausages and wagyu burgers on Fri and Sat from 630-1030pm and Sundays from 1230-630pm. Prices are pocket friendly and start from SGD8.95 onwards. On Sundays, patrons can even enjoy a complimentary glass of Bucks Fizz.

It must have been my unlucky day because 1) there is an ongoing Standard Chartered credit card promotion (offering a whopping 25% discount off all food items) and I forgot to bring my card and 2) I would have so loved to attend the Halloween Party (which was barely 2 hours away).

Which gives me all the more reason to make a return visit. =)

I also like the fact that the restaurant closes at midnight. That gives me ample time to make my way there after a long day at work.

Macaron Lovers' Alert

Bakerzin macarons are going at SGD1 (SGD1.05 to be exact after factoring GST) each for the month of Nov!

Julie & Julia

A must watch for foodies, Julie & Julia is a movie chronicling the culinary exploits of food legend Julia Child and Julia Child-wannabe Julie Powell.

Throughout the movie, Meryl Streep (who stars as the burlesque Julia Child) and Amy Adams (who stars as urbanite Julie Powell) play with animal parts, recite recipes and cook up a feast.

Little wonder that after watching the movie, I have resolved to do the following

1. Buy the cookbook " The Art of French Cooking" written by Julia Child herself and learn how to make that infamous bouef bouguignon featured in the show (Note: Borders at Wheelock has run out of stock for this book)

2. Buy myself a Le Creuset cast iron "french oven" (it must be orange)

3. Learn how to perfectly poach an egg.

4. Wear pearls while cooking.


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