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Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

Gorgeous Sushi from Hong Kong

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on January 14, 2014 at 15:16
Left top: Kinki - Left middle: Tamasu - Left bottom: Seared Toro - MIddle: Kawahagi with liver Right top: Hokkigai - Right middle: Sutsuki - Right bottom: Shimaji

Left top: Kinki – Left middle: Tamasu – Left bottom: Seared Toro – MIddle: Kawahagi with liver
Right top: Hokkigai – Right middle: Sutsuki – Right bottom: Shimaji

My cousin recommended me to visit this tiny little sushi place in Causeway Bay area called Sushi Mori 鮨森日本料理.

Everyone in my party were in for a treat!

We went for lunch, and it was price-fix.: HK$300 (roughly US$37) for 9 pieces, HK$400  (~US$50) for 12 pieces and HK$500 (~US$62) for 15 pieces.

It was an adventure as the chef would serve the day’s specials and fresh-catch, and we had no clue what we were about to eat.

They only asked whether there was any food allergies or anything we did not like.

One thing we noticed as we sat down was that there was no soy sauce or wasabi.

Their philosophy was that each sushi was prepared and served to the customers just right in flavors and texture, and no additional soy sauce or wasabi was needed.

Upon closer look at the sushi porn attached, one would notice that the sushi rice were a little brown.

I believe soy sauce was already added to the rice for flavor.

Left: Akodai - Middle Top: menu - Middle Bottom: Chef prepping the Uni and Ikura rice bowl - Left top: Filleting fish - Left Bottom: Delicious miso

Left: Akodai – Middle Top: menu – Middle Bottom: Chef prepping the Uni and Ikura rice bowl – Left top: Filleting fish – Left Bottom: Delicious miso

I had all kinds of fish that I had never heard of before.

I believe most were flown in fresh from Japan.

The very first piece was the Akodai, served with seaweed, with the surprising flavors of yuzu (Japanese grapefruit).

The fish was light in flavor, snapper-like, and with chewy tendon.

Flavor combination was wonderful and bursting in my mouth.

Other highlights were:

Peppery flavored Tachiro, firm texture, seared just right and it tasted sassy with the added peppery flavor;

Kawahagi, a firm texture fish, which was served with its liver on top that was super creamy and smooth; the green chives gave brightness to the sushi;

Sutsuki, a flavorful, tendony fish with sliver of shiso – mild flavor and a nice chew.

Many pieces were served “no-frill”, just the seafood’s raw taste from the sea: the delicious Toro – fatty, melted in the mouth; Buri – a Hamachi-like fish which was only available during winter time, was fatty and a clean flavor.

Quite a few pieces were seared to highlight the flavor of the crispy skin or imparted seared fat flavor.

My favorite piece in this category was the Gindara, in the same family as black cod — this piece of sushi was superb with soft meat, fatty and sweet, and the flavor lingered in the mouth for a very long time after the piece was well in my stomach.

Left: Ikura and Uni - Right top: Gindara - Middle: Scallop - Right Middle: Shiori and Tobiko - Middle Bottom: Tachiro - Right Bottom: Unknown!  Ate and Forgot to take notes!

Left: Ikura and Uni – Right top: Gindara – Middle: Scallop – Right Middle: Shiori and Tobiko – Middle Bottom: Tachiro – Right Bottom: Unknown! Ate and Forgot to take notes!

The best part, every set course came with a generous bowl of Uni and Ikura with rice.

The rice was once again flavored with soy sauce, then packed with mounds of marinated Ikura and fresh Uni.

Finished off the meal with miso soup, which was exceptionally sweet and delicious as it was cooked with left over fish parts.

It was a wonderful meal full of surprises, and I just wish there is a place like this in the Seattle area!

Creative Chinese Food feat. Pearl Ribs, Fried Squid Mouths and Snake Soup

In Asia, Eating Out, Travel Food on January 11, 2014 at 11:14

Doof Out

We had 2 wonderful dinners in Hong Kong.

One meal was at “Happy Dot” 囍點.

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The restaurant is located in Quarry Bay in Hong Kong in an industrial/factory building.

In the past years, rents on the ground floors’ of buildings were getting way too expensive for many businesses to be in.

Many restaurants started moving “upstairs” of residential buildings.

Apparently, the upstairs of residential buildings were also getting too expensive, so restaurants were moving upstairs of industrial/factory building.

This place served some fun, unique and excellent dishes; a place that I would definitely go back again!

We had a rib dish with plum sauce.

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Looking at it, it looked like a regular meat/rib dish.

The restaurant called it “pearl rib”.

Turned out, it was the small cartilage meat part that was attached to end the baby back ribs.

As a result, all the pieces were bite-size, with the perfect balance of meat and cartilage to chew on.

Coupled with the sweet and tangy sauce, it was wonderful!

Then, we had a vegetable cooked in fish soup with mushrooms.

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Although this dish’s preparation was not as special, the fish soup base was one of the best I had!

Creamy, delicious and not fishy;  I drank the soup after we finished the vegetables.

I wish they had an option of just ordering a pot of the fish soup!

We also had a noodle dish cooked in the steamer, which I had not seen before.

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It was extremely spicy (we ordered the Szechuan style eggplant with Japanese black pork).

The noodle was cooked just right in texture, and flavors were through and through.

We had to wait 45 mins for this dish to arrive and it was well worth the wait!

Lastly, we had a clay pot rice with tofu and Angus beef.

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Flavor was awesome, but it did not have as much burnt rice at the bottom as I thought.

The restaurant only has 2 seatings at 6pm and 7:30pm, and does not open on Sundays.

The place was so crowded — we had a reservation and still had to wait when we arrived.

Another place we went to was Tung Po.

My family had been going to this restaurant for many years because they cooked creatively and food were utterly tasty.

My Mom admitted that it had gotten more expensive so they had fewer visits in the past years.

I really wanted to eat there since I did not go back to Hong Kong often, and I got my wish!

Tung Po was not a fancy place.

It is located on the top floor of the North Point food market, along with many cooked food vendors.

First, we had the best Chinese Borscht.

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Thick and rich, they made the soup tasted more like a stew and it was unstoppable for me!

Then, we had a salt and pepper fried squid mouth.

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Literally, they harvested just the chewy mouth part of the cuttlefish.

The resulting texture was extra crunchiness in these little fried pieces.

We also had a mushroom tomato fish e-mein.

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The fish was tender with the lovely flavors from the tomato sauce and mushrooms.

The sauce ate like a Western dish, but was accompanied by Chinese e-mein.

Lastly, we had an egg omelette with bitter melon and oysters.

I never had this combination before, and generally I was not a fan of the bitter melon.

This was delicious though and the oysters were still tender in the thin egg omelette.

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Finally, since I was back in the Fall season, it was the best time for snake soup.

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I was hoping to snap some pictures of cages full of snakes in the shop, but unfortunately, new law did not allow restaurant to display their snakes anymore.

Snake soup was cooked with snack meat, chicken meat, mushrooms and bamboo shoots, topped with crispy wonton and shredded lemon leaves.

My last recollection was that it was also topped with chrysanthemum flower petals; the shop owner said nowadays, people usually gave out the flower petals or lemon leaves, but not both.

Bummer.

The combination of the lemon leaves and chrysanthemum flower petals gave the soup very unique flavors.

The soup itself tasted mushroomy and soy sauce flavored; in fact, imagine hot and sour soup without the hot and sour!

The snake meat really did not impart any flavors.

I joked that I could not even tell the snake meat apart from the chicken meat.

The addition of leaves and flowers gave a lift to the overall flavor with citrus, mint and floral scents ; they also imparted texture, as the petals and leaves were both a little chewy but soft.

I am glad I went back to Hong Kong in the right time to have snake soup since I had not had it for eons!

Hong Kong Food Market

In Asia, Food, Travel Food on January 8, 2014 at 17:28
L: temporary store for hairy crabs -- R top: tofu stall -- L middle: frogs in the cage for purchase R middle: all kinds of eggs -- L bottom: all manners of balls -- R bottom: fish monger

L: temporary store for hairy crabs — R top: tofu stall — L middle: frogs in the cage for purchase
R middle: all kinds of eggs — L bottom: all manners of balls — R bottom: fish monger

A part of life in Hong Kong that I missed the most was the vibrant food market.

Grocery stores here in North America, which are very clean by many countries’ standard, could appear sterile compared to this kind of “live” market.

Market opened early, 5am or 6am, already brimming with freshest products of the day.

Due to the very liberal import regulations, plenty of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish were available in the market from many parts of the world.

Farmland was a rare commodity in Hong Kong nowadays, and most food imports were from Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Australia or other exotic locations.

Stalls were typically fairly small in size, nothing compare to the capacity of a North American grocery store; as a result, storage was minimal.

Coupled with people demanding fresh and quality products, fresh produce flowed through these markets at a high rate.

It was hairy crab season when I was in Hong Kong; hairy crabs were one of the touted Chinese delicacy.

Temporary stalls similar to the above in the picture popped up everywhere in Hong Kong just to sell hairy crabs for perhaps a month to maximum 2 months.

Hairy crabs started appearing in the market around Fall, and they were referred as “hairy crab” because they were much hairier than regular crabs.

In Chinese though, direct translation of the crab’s name would be “big gate crab”.

Usually they were just steamed, and the delicate sweet crab meat were consumed with a ginger vinegar.

The inert were used in multiple ways including topping steamed buns, steamed egg or fried eggs.

Tofu stalls sold all manners of fresh pressed or fried tofu, tofu puffs and etc.; along with the stalls with all manners of “balls” — fish balls, cuttlefish balls, beef or pork balls to name a few.

The egg stalls had thousand-year old eggs, salted eggs, and my favorite, quail eggs as well.

Frogs were consumed as well in application of congee or with my family, they were cooked Shanghainese style with sweet soy sauce and green onion (“hung sui”).

I still vividly remembered (perhaps traumatized) walking pass stalls that sold frogs when I was a kid.

The frog was already de-skinned, naked, and splayed open on top of the cage.

My dad told me that health law had prohibited selling pre-killed frogs;  they were kept in the cage and slaughtered only when someone ordered them.

L: fruit stall -- L top: stall selling candies and dried fruit by the lb. -- R top: another fish monger L bottom:  stall selling noodles -- R bottom: meat stall

L: fruit stall — L top: stall selling candies and dried fruit by the lb. — R top: another fish monger
L bottom: stall selling noodles — R bottom: meat stall

I particularly missed the old-style market candy store.

The stall in the picture was not fully opened yet, otherwise, all the empty spaces in the pictures would be full of snacks.

I used to go to these stalls with my grandma, especially before Chinese New Year.

We bought all the sweets and savory snacks to fill up this compartmentalized box to offer to guests when they came to our house for Chinese New Year greetings.

The stall carried treats from western candies and chocolates, to Chinese dried picked fruits such as sour plums, to snacks such as dried squid, wasabi peas etc.

Candies and snacks were sold by the pound and one could get as little or as much as they wanted.

With Hong Kong occupying such a small geographical area and its super convenient transportation, it was customary for people to go to the market and buy food for the day every day to guarantee freshness of their food.

It also helped that a lot of people had maids, so the shopping and cooking were done by the maids anyway.

Alas, both super fresh food and maids were luxury for life in North America.

Hong Kong Thai Food feat. Pork Neck Meat, Curry Softshell Crab etc.

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on January 6, 2014 at 13:41

Doof Out

Back to Hong Kong from Southeast Asia and my Dad brought me to this amazingly great little Thai place called Thai Cuisine 泰金香小廚 for dinner.

It happened that he knew the Thai cook’s husband and we were able to get some special treat!

We started off with the fresh, delicious and extremely spicy green papaya salad with big crispy shrimps.

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Then, we had 2 soups — Tom Yum,

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which was light, spicy and delicious with all the herbs of cilantro, lemongrass and galangal (Thai ginger);

and a second soup (did not catch the name!),

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which was cooked with this green vegetables specially imported from Thailand, ground pork, garlic and likely fish sauce.

The special vegetables tasted like a cross of spinach and pea vine, and was not available in Hong Kong market.

It was very tasty and the garlicky flavor just was irresistible!

Then, we had the tamarind fried fish.

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The fish was plump and fresh, fried crispy, coupled with the sweet and tangy sauce, it was just fantastic.

I am used to this dish in North America usually made with fish that did not have much meat, and felt like I was eating crispy bones — this was heaven.

The next dish was yellow curry with soft shell crab, and it was out of this world.

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Looked like that egg was mixed with the curry sauce.

Soft easily edible crab pieces with this wonderful curry sauce that was exuding lovely aromatics of herbs and spices; I could eat a whole plate of rice with just the eggy curry sauce.

This was my first time having pork neck meat as a dish.

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Chinese used a lot of the pock neck bones for soup, but had not come across a dish with it.

It looked very simple, but it was one of the most tender pork I ever had.

Surprisingly, it also did not taste fatty at all (or that I could see any fat layer) — it looked like a lean piece of pork and with completely unexpected tenderness, simply grilled and unpretentious.

Lastly, we had pan-fried Hainen chicken.

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Flavor was excellent and the crisp skin made the normally steamed chicken skin much more palatable.

The added slight charred flavor was a bonus to the already tasty Hainen chicken.

We were so full with all the food when left the restaurant.

I managed to get a to-go Pad Thai for DH.

At about US$5, it was one of the most wonderful Pad Thai I had for a while.

Noodles were fried with loads of flavors and managed to stay dry.

I will most certainly visit this place again the next time I am in Hong Kong!

A visit to the Bali Coffee Plantation and Luwak Coffee

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on January 3, 2014 at 16:40

Doof Out

Happy New Year to everyone!  This is my last post from Indonesia.

We went to a coffee plantation to try the infamous Luwak coffee, and other coffee and tea products.

We were in for a treat!

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The standard free tasting included 11 coffees and teas.

The plantation sells a delicious lemongrass ginger tea which was extremely spicy and delicious, along with roasted rice tea and roselle (a member of the hibiscus family) tea.

I fell in love with their coconut and “mochaccino” — the former was coffee with dried coconut, and latter was coffee with local cocoa.

No flavoring and just quality ingredients.

Interestingly, all the coffee products are sold pre-ground, and many with sugar.

The plantation also sells some products without sugar, but the ingredient list on the packs still listed sugar — something that just would not be allowed with US food labeling law.

Time for the famous coffee: Luwak.

It cost about US$5 to taste a 4 oz. cup of Luwak coffee at the plantation.

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Luwak coffee was extracted from the excrement of Asian Palm Civets, which are members of the mammal family Viveride.

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Many of the Civets were in captivity.

The Coffee Shop folks claimed that people hunt and eat the Civet; in back of my head I was thinking that it would be easier for coffee production if the Civets were locked up as well.

The Civets eat ripe coffee cherries and pass out the coffee beans (which were basically the pits of the cherries) in their poop.

The beans are then washed, harvested (as shown below with the chunk of coffee beans in the middle), and ultimately roasted.

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The coffee beans are fermented along the way in the Civet’s digestive tract, and produce coffee that has distinctive flavors.

Luwak coffee is a mix of robusta (generally associated with cheaper coffee) and Arabica beans (generally associated with more premium coffee) as the Civet did not discriminate between the types of coffee cherries, but rather whether the coffee cherries were ripe for their consumption.

For coffee preparation, Balinese seemed to prefer very finely ground coffee.

We had regular Balinese coffee served to us in French Press and drip, but it was still very finely ground.

The Luwak coffee was also finely ground and put in the bottom of the cup.  Finally, the hot water was added to the cup to brew.

The tasting experience was similar to cupping.

Luwak coffee was very smooth but also with high acidity.

I found this interesting as the 2 properties generally did not go hand in hand in coffee with my taste buds.

It was roasted quite dark, so that the roastiess and chocolatey flavors were most prominent.

The coffee was also a little fruity and a little floral.

I wish I could taste the coffee in a French Press with coarse grind coffee so the flavors could be more distinctive.

Verdict — I am not convinced to spend US$75 for a quarter lb of Luwak Coffee; and am very grateful that I had the opportunity to try one of the most expensive coffee in the world!

Bubur Bali and Salak Tropical Fruit

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on December 28, 2013 at 16:52

Doof Out

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Bali was truly a land of abundance.

The warm climate and its fertile land made agricultural products bountiful.

Our driver told us that the staples were coconuts — fruits were yielded from the trees all-year round, plus the whole tree was usable down to the leaves and trunk for furnitures and fabric.

Many food crops were harvested on the island: peppers, beans, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, ginger, mandarin oranges, passion fruit, mangosteens and coffees to name a few.

Most notably was rice cultivation.

There were rice fields every where: short grain, long grain, black rice, and the list goes on.

Large amount of the rice grown in Bali was exported to the rest of Indonesia.

With the ample supply, all the food we had tasted fresh and delicious.

Aside from the Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng that were wildly available in Bali, I also fell in love with Bubur.

It was basically flavored congee, or rice porridge.

I was used to Chinese congee which was generally plain with meats, seafood or vegetables cooked in it.

The 2 versions of Balinese bubur that I had encountered were very different.

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This first version basically had porridge at the bottom, sprinkled with curry powder, then covered with cooked napa cabbages and fried peanuts.

It was very delicious, spicy and the texture combination was exciting!

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The second bubur was a curry congee with hard-boiled egg; and it came with sides of spicy soy sauce, pickled vegetables and chicken meat.

Since I was a kid, I was not a fan of home-made congee because they were bland to me.

Perhaps now I can jazz up my congee with curry at home!

At a market, we saw these new fruit I had never seen before — the brown fruit by the dragon fruit and mangoes.

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The skin looked tough, similar to avocado skin, except smoother but had reptile skin-like pattern.

The fruit stand lady cracked open one for me to try, and it was very interesting.

When she cracked it, it showed that the skin was actually very thin; once it was cracked, the skin was easily peeled-off, almost like grape skin.

A nice light yellow color flesh revealed itself.

It was a non-juicy fruit, and very fibrous — imagine pineapple but without juice.

There was about 4 segments of flesh, and each had its own pit.

The fruit had what I called the “very ripe fruit flavor” that one could experience from very ripe banana, pineapple or even durian.

It had an inherent pleasant light sweetness to it.

After chatting with our driver, he said that the fruit was called “salak” – snake-skin fruit!

It was most definitely unique!

Interesting Eating Experience in Indonesian Forest

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on December 20, 2013 at 12:33

Doof Out

We had a delicious and interesting eating experience during the very last night of our stay at West Bali National Park.

We had specially ordered Nasi Kampung Pejarakan, roughly translated into “feast for the village of Pejarakan”.

When we ordered the dinner, the hotel offered the dinner at the gazebo, so I thought, “sure, we would give that a try”.

Turned out it was outdoor dining, romantically lit with candle lights.

The gazebo was perched just above water at the beach.

Throughout the dinner, we could hear water crashing, birds chirping, crickets singing.

The forest was very much alive in the dark and it was just amazing.

The other interesting “eating experience” was DH being the feast for the village of mosquitoes.

He had  decided that he was going to risk it and did not put on bug repellent; we elected to bring the bug repellent with us.

Within 5 minutes we sat down, he got bit; and he quickly put on bug repellent.

Little did we know that by the time we had light to see his arm, he had at least 10 bites if not more on just 1 forearm!

About the actual food (the pictures’ color were not the greatest due to the romantic candle lights).

Nasi Kampung Pejarakan turned out to be a multi course dinner.

First, we were being served with extremely delicious fried peanuts with peppers and soy sauce.

They were spicy, sweet and salty at the same time; and they complimented my red wine really well.

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Then, we had a seafood soup.

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Very hot from lots of ginger, scented with fried shallots; the soup had generous chunks of fish, squid and shrimp.

Next, was the full platter.

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The rice in the middle was shaped with a banana leaf cone, and was cooked with coconut milk and corn.

Starting at 3 o’clock were crispy rice crackers.

At 2 o’clock, there was gado-gado, the classic Indonesian cooked vegetable salad with peanut sauce; except this was the first time I had gado-gado with kangkung (hollow center vegetables).

At 11 o’clock was a deliciously stewed and tender beef.

Seemed to me that the beef was stewed with soy sauce, and perhaps with some cinnamon and cloves; and it did not have any heat at all.

The sticks were the sate lilit, with the little round banana leaf cups containing sambal.

Lastly was the fish paste that was cooked with tomato pieces and grilled in banana leaf boats (6 o’clock in the picture).

We were really full from all the food, and found out delightfully that we were having dessert as well.

Yet another classic — fried banana, pisang goreng!

Drizzled with palm sugar and accompanied by the super gingery and spicy tea, it was a wonderful way to end the dinner!

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Another experience — throughout the dinner, we were looking around and admiring our environment.

We noted that at the nook at the very tip of the gazebo, there was a little white mouse.

For the bulk of the dinner, he/she/it was out of our sight — we just knew he/she/it was there.

I had to say it was a first time ever eating with the presence of a mouse.

At first, I was a little uneasy.

However, at no time I felt my food was threaten (not that the mouse had tried to have a bite, nor that I was concern with my food from a sanitary point of view).

Then, I realized, it was all part of nature; the gazebo was probably his home, and we were the visitors.

Thank you, mouse, for having us.

 

 

Eating Out in Bali, Indonesia: Nasi Kuning, Bergedel, Desserts

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on December 15, 2013 at 11:23

Doof Out

First time ever in Indonesia and we stayed in Bali.

I really enjoyed our stay there even though we were being more tourists without locals (as in friends) guiding us.

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Food suffered a little unfortunately (the towns were not too easy to get around since there was no public transportation, and DH was still on crutches), but there were still plenty of highlights.

The best was starting our days with ginormous breakfast!

The very first day, I had bergedel with urab as the appetizer (yes, appetizer for breakfast!)

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Bergedel was the round white patty in the middle layer in the picture — a potato and fish patty with soft, pleasant savory flavor hinted with onion and spices

Urab was a traditional Balinese cooked vegetable mix usually composed of bean sprouts, green beans and grated coconut and other spices, which was absolutely delicious and at the bottom of the bergedel on the plate.

I was thoroughly impressed with the freshness of the ingredients, and the spices were used in such a balance way that they worked well with each other.

My main course for breakfast was Nasi Kuning.

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What wonderful memory it brought back!

Nasi Kuning was a rice dish with egg, roasted coconut, teri kacang (an anchovy and peanuts mixed and fried together) and shredded chicken.

The unique part was the rice itself — sometimes called yellow rice, was made with turmeric, coconut and ginger or other spices.

My family used to frequent an Indonesia restaurant in Hong Kong when I was growing up, and we only went there on Sundays — when they served yellow rice in a large wooden bucket!

It was one of my grandfather’s favorite dish.

This Nasi Kuning was delicious; the egg was lightly fried with a crisp skin, the rice was sweet, coconuty and gingery; added on top was lots of texture from the shredded coconut, anchovies, peanuts and chicken.

I could have this for breakfast every day!

We got to try some sweets as well in the afternoon.

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A less traditional apple pancake (the green one made with pandan leaf), and very traditional coconut cakes (with layered chocolate flavors, the brown one in the middle) and black rice pudding in a banana leaf cup.

The spring roll was lumpia.

My favorite was the coconut cake (kue lapis tepung beras)– I called them coconut cake because the most prominent flavor was coconut; however, it was made with rice flour or sago flour.

Ours had chocolate addition in the brown layer, so it had lovely chocolate flavor in it as well as coconut.

The texture was just excellent,  chewy and soft at the same time.

The black rice pudding was really cooked black rice with coconut milk.

I always like black rice, its stickier and chewier texture in many ways were more fun to eat then the regular brown and white rice.

It was said that black rice also had higher nutritional value.

We also had these amazingly spicy ginger lemongrass tea that tasted so good!

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It was strong and definitely packed a punch and I loved them.

I want to make that at home!

Everything was really great and fresh; even we were not hunting for food, they were great and delicious!

Eating Out in Singapore: Kaya, Laksa, Chili Crab

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on December 13, 2013 at 11:30

Doof Out

Our eating tour started in the morning (thanks YB and KW!) at this coffee shop/cafe – Chin Mee Chin in the Katong neighborhood in Singapore.

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I love the old style ambience and the coffees and teas were superb.

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We also had the quintessential soft-boil egg, and kaya on buns.

The kaya was a jam like spread and it was made with coconut and egg.

The custardy coconut flavor was lovely and the texture was very creamy.

Some versions of kaya was green with the addition of pandan leaf.

The egg tart also looked really good and decided to try one as well.

It was very different from the ones popular in Hong Kong as the center custard was stiffer, but it tasted equally as good.

After some strong coffee and tea, we went to have Laksa.

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That was the best Laksa I had ever had!

The coconut curry broth was very creamy and tasted like the sea with shrimp paste.

The broth was not smooth, and had coagulated protein in it, probably from the shrimps, shrimp paste and cockles.

My friend ordered the Laksa with cockles and it was such as treat.

The cockles were really fresh and with its blood color, it stood out in the noodle and added a nice texture to the Laksa.

Back to the soup, it had such amazing flavors and so complex with all the spices and herbs, it was literally flavors burst in the mouth!

The noodle was great — it was rice noodle, and what we called “lai fun” in Hong Kong; wider and thicker than the vermicelli, cylindrical and snappier.

Then, we had Chili crab at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant.

The restaurant had been a popular destination for seafood in Singapore for 66 years, and was credited as the creator of chili crabs.

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Boy, was it fantastic!

The crabs were amazingly fresh, meaty and sweet on its own right.

The chili crab sauce was just mouth-watering.

My friends ordered it with fried buns to dip the sauce; I could probably eat the sauce alone with all the fried buns and rice.

We also got a black pepper crab and it was extremely spicy (the black plate at the back of the picture).

We also ordered steamed shrimps and clams.

The shrimps were extremely sweet.

It truly said to how great and delicious a dish can be when the ingredients were fresh — so much joy from a simple dish.

The spicy soy sauce accompanying the shrimps were great company to enhance the sweetness of the shrimps.

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The clams were tasty and the clams were cooked just right with a perfect sauce.

Every meal I had in Singapore was superb and I knew I had barely begin to scratch the surface with the very short time we had there.

I shall return to Singapore for more good food!!!

Buk Kut Teh VS. (Pork Bone Soup)

In Asia, Eating Out, Food, Travel Food on December 11, 2013 at 15:37

Doof Out

We got a chance to try and compare the Buk Kut Teh from Malaysia and Singapore.

I had Buk Kut Teh when I was growing up but not often.

I only remembered it being tasty.

“Buk Kut Teh”‘s pronunciation is Hokkien dialect, which literally means “meat bone tea”.

The soup is popular in Malaysia and Singapore are and it was of Chinese origin.

The 2 countries neighboring each other serve up vastly different Buk Kut Teh and it was a fantastic experience to have both!

Let’s start with the Singapore one.

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We went to Ng Ah Sio, one of the famous spots in Singapore.

The beginning of the store dated back to 1950s.

The soup was extremely peppery, garlicky and delicious.

The pork bones were cooked for a long time and they were very tender and the soup was rich.

Aside from the pork bones, there really was nothing else that I could see.

It was likely that the herbs and spices were in the kitchen’s main pot.

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For the Malaysian one, we went to Crystal’s Restoran.

This Buk Kut Teh was completely different.

The flavor was overwhelmingly Chinese herbs in the soup with the pork bones.

The soup was very complex — perhaps a little clove, cinnamon and probably lots of other ingredients that I simply could not tell.

The place had open area for preparing Buk Kut Teh.

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Both the Singapore and Malaysia eateries served different food.

In Singapore, we had stewed tofu, both the firmer kind and the fried tofu puffs.

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We did not eat too much there because by the time we got to Ng Ah Sio, it was already our third stop for food in less than 4 hours!

We got a side vegetable with garlic which was superb.

Aside from Buk Kut Teh, I believe food would be very good there as well.

As for Malaysia, we ordered Assam Pedas and pig intestine.

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The fish was very fresh and soft; the tangy and spicy Assam sauce was a great compliment to the steamed fish.

I am not a big fan of pig intestine, but this soup was fantastic.

It was completely full of white pepper and ginger flavors, which removed all the “piggy-ness” from the intestine and made the soup amazing good.

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Both Buk Kut Teh were ordered with a side of fried dough.

The best part in both stores was that soup was unlimited!!!!!

Since I really only enjoy drinking the soup and could care less about the actual pork bones and meat, I was in heaven!

The waiter/waitress would keep coming with a teapot/bowl full of soup to refill.

My friend told me that we were paying for the meat; but I was definitely going against the ancient Chinese teaching of “eat the expensive stuff” in this case!