March 31, 2012

De La Crème

I adore the incorporation of local culinary influences into western recipes, and it was De La Crème's Asian-inspired macaron flavors that drew me to this pâtisserie. What intrigued me most about De La Crème was that it was set up by a 22-year-old undergraduate, who took time off his studies to pursue formal culinary training. Such admirable passion and entrepreneurship!
macarons @ de la crème
From left: Rose, Gula Melaka, Violette, Pandan, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Amer

The fillings in De La Crème's macarons are pleasantly smooth and light. The macaron shells, however, need some refinement and I found some of the flavors to be a tad sweet.

While the pandan macaron's shells were overly airy, it was beautifully suffused with the aroma of screwpine leaves. The gula melaka macaron sounded promising with its palm sugar and coconut infused buttercream and a centre of molten palm syrup, but it could have been less subdued in flavor.

Onto the more ubiquitous combinations: rose is one of my favorite macaron flavors and it was a pity that the version here wasn't fragrant enough. The shells were also a tad airy. Flavor-wise, Chocolate Amer was a winner. However, while the filling of lush bittersweet ganache was worth swooning over, the macaron shells were disappointingly soft.

The sea salt caramel macaron's shells were the best of the six- crisp on the outside with a moist and tender interior, with crunchy Black Palm Island salt crystals for textural contrast. It could have done with much more salt though. In fact, the sea salt caramel filling tasted just like unadulterated caramel buttercream.

Price: $2.40/piece, $12.90 for half a dozen, $25.90 for a dozen

De La Crème
42 Siglap Drive
Tel: +65 6246 2476
Opening hours: 2pm-10pm (Tues-Fri), 2pm-11pm (Sat), 12nn-11pm (Sun), closed on Mondays

March 27, 2012

Alfero Artisan Gelato II

Maybe it's because I love nut-based ice creams in general. But Alfero's hazelnut gelato is seriously good stuff. Velvety smooth and intensely flavored with the goodness of premium Piedmontese nuts, this was certainly the best hazelnut gelato that I've come across locally so far!

My new dilemma: Should I opt for the hazelnut or pistachio gelato the next time I visit Alfero?
vanilla @ alfero artisan gelato 
On the other hand, I felt that the Tahitian vanilla (above) could have done with a stronger hint of the fragrant spice. But as with all of Alfero's gelati that I've sampled thus far, its texture was sublime. Ice cream lovers, do check out this place if you haven't already done so!

Price: $4.50 for a small cup (1 flavor), $6.50 for a medium cup (2 flavors), $8.50 for a large cup (3 flavors)

6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-226A/B Marina Square
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm daily

March 24, 2012

Desserts @ RWS Malaysian Food Street

Resort World Sentosa's Malaysian Food Street has been said to feature some of the best hawkers in Malaysia. The budget-conscious will be glad to hear that prices here are not as steep as at the Rasapura Masters food court at the other integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands.

I found the chendol ($2.50) to be only alright. While I appreciated the homemade chendol strips and the well-cooked red beans, the syrup could have been more fragrant. That being said, this might just be the way Penang chendol is supposed to be- I read that Penang hawkers prepare the iced dessert with a higher ratio of brown sugar to gula melaka than their Singaporean counterparts.
  Fung Wong Confectionery's egg tart ($1.20) made my visit to Malaysian Food Street worthwhile. Although it tended on the watery side, the custard was wonderfully wobbly. Nestled in a crisp and light flaky pastry, it came as no surprise that these egg tarts were snatched up in a jiffy.
egg tart & char siew puff @ fung wong confectionery
The crispy char siew bao (aka char siew puff) ($1.50) is also worth a try. The char siew filling encased within was pleasantly moist and tender, with a stronger spice kick than local variants.

Malaysian Food Street
8 Sentosa Gateway
Resorts World Sentosa (Located next to entrance of Universal Studios)

March 22, 2012

Chocolate stout & Irish cream cupcakes @ Plain Vanilla Bakery

I dislike beer in general. But it's a different story altogether when stout is combined with chocolate. The bitterness of the alcohol is counteracted by the sugar; vice-versa, the bitter tang of the stout helps to tame the sweetness of the chocolate.

In fact, I love Plain Vanilla's chocolate stout cake base more than their regular chocolate version. The malty, roasty notes of Guinness give the chocolate sponge a fuller flavor, and the carbonation of the beer gives the cake a softer crumb. Paired with PVB's swoonworthy cream cheese frosting, this is one cupcake that will guarantee you sweet dreams at night.
chocolate stout cupcake @ plain vanilla bakery
If my memory serves me well, PVB's vanilla-Irish cream cake tastes even yummier than their signature vanilla sponge, and that means a lot because the former is seriously delicious! Dreamily fluffy vanilla cake meets Bailey's-infused chocolate fudge (wouldn't have minded having more of this), Irish cream frosting and an alcoholic truffle, mmm.
irish cream cupcake @ plain vanilla bakery
The chocolate stout and Irish cream cupcakes are available till April 1.

Price: $3.20 per cupcake, $18 for a box of six

Plain Vanilla Bakery
34A Lorong Mambong
Look for a doorway leading to M.A.D. about Hair (which shares a unit with PVB), located near El Patio
Tel: +65 6465 5942
Opening hours: 12pm – 8pm (Tues-Sat), 12pm-6pm (Sat), closed on Mondays

March 7, 2012

Hong Kong: Kam Wah

Don't be misled by its name- pineapple buns are nowhere healthy. Especially if they're as addictive as Kam Wah's. Best eaten warm out of the oven, these buns have a crunchy and sugary crust that shatters with every bite. Buttery golden pastry meets soft and fluffy bread, what's not to like?
This definitely ranks as one of my favorite eats in Hong Kong and costs just HKD5 per piece to boot. I would have these for breakfast everyday if I stayed in Mongkok! Remember to ask for polo yao if you want a slab of butter with your polo bun- I didn't, but the polo bun was darned delicious on its own already!

Kam Wah
47 Bute Street, Mongkok
Tel +852 2392 6830

March 5, 2012

Plain Vanilla Bakery II

Love strawberry cupcakes? Be sure to check out those from Plain Vanilla Bakery, which are only available till this Sunday! I loved their Strawberry cupcake almost as much as their mainstay Strawberry White Chocolate, and that says a lot because the latter is mindblowingly delicious

The cake base ain't just vanilla- it's pastel pink from all those strawberries blended into the batter. It's a perfect match for the intensely fruity and divinely fluffy strawberry frosting that tops the confection!
While the Mocha Chip cupcake packed a sufficient caffeine punch, I would have fancied it more if the chocolate-chip-studded coffee cake base was as tender-crumbed and greaseless as PVB's ultimate vanilla cake base. The espresso frosting was also a teeny bit sweet for my liking, but I suppose that this might have been necessary to counteract the bitterness of the coffee.

Price: $3.20 per cupcake, $18 for a box of six

34A Lorong Mambong
Look for a doorway leading to M.A.D. about Hair (which shares a unit with PVB), located near El Patio
Tel: +65 6465 5942
Opening hours:
12pm – 8pm (Tues-Sat), 12pm-6pm (Sat), closed on Mondays

March 4, 2012

Hong Kong: Beancurd @ Ngong Ping

Beancurd made with spring water? I could not miss stopping by this stall located near the touristy Ngong Ping village on Lantau Island.
beancurd @ ngong ping
Sublimely soft and smooth, this was easily the best beancurd I've ever had and was especially comforting savored in twelve degree weather! I loved how the soya dessert was served with ginger syrup and red sugar on the side, unlike its Singaporean variant which is served with plain syrup.
beancurd @ ngong ping
Most tourists visit Ngong Ping with the intention of visiting the Giant Buddha, but I feel that Ngong Ping's worth a visit just for the food and the scenic cable car ride from Tung Chung. Do drop by the nearby Tai O if you're visiting Ngong Ping for an insight into village life- I'll be blogging about my trip there soon!
on the cable car to ngong ping
ngong ping
from the giant buddha
giant buddha