August 13, 2012

The Wok and Barrel

Will you pay $19.90 for bak chor mee pasta? I have to try the dish, but I'm honestly not too convinced. Nasi lemak lunch sets at the Mod Sin (aka modern Singaporean) bistro Wok and Barrel are, however, reasonably at $7.90 to $9.90, considering that you get to dine in air-conditioned comfort and the outlet's location at the hip Duxton area.
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There was nothing to fault with the fragrant, well-cooked coconut rice nor the robust beef rendang, but the food here was honestly just decent and not showstopping. Two types of chilli are served here- a sweet and mild sambal tumis which I liked, as well as sambal belacan which I avoided due to my inability to handle spicy food. The five-spice confit pork was flavorful and literally fork-tender, but but D wasn't too convinced with its incorporation into a sandwich ($10.90)- inspired by the pulled pork sandwich ubiquitous in the States.
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Even if you're doubtful of forking out ten bucks for refined hawker food,  be sure to visit Wok and Barrel for their desserts. Inspired by British sticky date pudding, pulut hitam cake is dished up in a pool of glorious gula melaka butterscotch with a scoop of coconut ice cream on the side ($8.90). My, I was determined to mop up every drop of the coconutty caramel! Although the ice cream was far too icy, it made a refreshing accompaniment to the rich dessert.
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The red bean ice cream in the shendol delight ($8.9) was equally icy, but we were happy with the wobbly coconut panna cotta, drenched in heavenly palm sugar syrup.
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Another fusion dessert would be the banana crack parfait ($7.90), a spin-off on tiramisu with mascarpone layered between a chocolate cookie crumble base and bananas in gula melaka butterscotch. No comments since I only had a tiny spoonful of it!
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Wok and Barrel
13 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089597
Opening hours: 11.30am-10pm (Tues-Sat), 11.30am-4pm (Sun)
Tel: +65 6220 0595

August 10, 2012

NDP 2012: What's in the Fun Pack and highlights of the parade

I like the sleek design of this year's NDP Fun Pack. I can foresee myself using this bag during future cycling trips.
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With the luggage tag
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Back view
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Nom noms. Old-school Yan Yan biscuit sticks never fail to tickle my fancy. The inclusion of herbal lozenges was a thoughtful gesture as well. There were also two bottles of water and a pack of H2O isotonic beverage.
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I liked the novelty of the merlion-shaped Khong Guan chocolate biscuits.P8091127
The programme and lyrics booklets, a stack of discount coupons and a postcard.
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Wet tissue, tissue paper, facial product samples and a fan.P8101458
A bandanna, a I ♥ SG torch, NDP-themed tatoos, a snap band band and a pair of castanets. I'm definitely going to wear the Singapore scarf (below) during winter!
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Close-up of the I ♥ SG torch. Sadly, the LED clappers were missing from my Fun Pack.
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The Singapore flag, found in every year's Fun Pack.
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The Red Lions suspended in the air.
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Freefall
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Aerial display
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And another
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The parade
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Fireworks
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The grand finale.
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Happy (belated) birthday Singapore!

August 6, 2012

Cook For Family: Nasi Lemak

I am thankful that my mother prepares dinner for my family almost everyday. Not only does eating at home  facilitate bonding among family members, it also enables one to eat more healthily and to maintain a healthier bank balance.

While I was slightly daunted by the prospect of having to prepare dinner for myself when I depart Singapore for my studies in a few weeks' time, recent expeditions in the kitchen have consoled me that cooking at home can be fuss-free and not too time-consuming. And washing up isn't that bad unless you've prepared an unusually oily dish or charred a pot by accident.

Here's a simple recipe for nasi lemak for Daniel's CookForFamily initiative. Do try cooking at home if you're guilty of eating out too much- maybe you'll start losing a few kilograms without realizing it. If you've had the time to read this post, you probably have more time on your hands to experiment in the kitchen than you think!
nasi lemak
Coconut rice:
2 cups of rice (2 x 180mL)
260mL coconut milk
130mL water 
3 screwpine leaves, tied into a knot
Wash the rice. Combine the rice with the coconut milk, water and a pinch of salt. Add the pandan leaves and cook in a rice cooker.

Sambal chilli:
While the rice is cooking, fry bottled sambal chilli with minced shallots and a pinch of sugar.

Peanuts and anchovies:
Fry dried peanuts and anchovies until crispy. You may need quite a bit of oil for this.

Serve with sliced cucumbers and other side dishes of your choice. Here, I cooked sunny side ups and toasted up some New Moon otah from the supermarket to complete the meal.

August 5, 2012

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Beanstro @ Marina Bay Sands

We had lunch at Din Tai Fung and didn't want to fork out $10 per pax for a meal at the food court. So Coffee Beanstro, it was.
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Expect to pay between $15++ and $20++ for mains here.
marinated grilled yellowfin tuna sandwich @ coffee beanstro
On hindsight, the food here seems equally overpriced. My marinated grilled yellowfin tuna sandwich ($19++) came with slices of tuna loin grilled pink (it would have been nice if they were served rare), roast pepper, red onion, tomatoes and lettuce, drizzled with house dressing. No complaints, but I wouldn't pay $19++ for this sandwich again.
fritatta @  coffee beanstro
  K's frittata of spinach and cheese ($14.50++)
steak @ coffee beanstro
  Y ordered steak, which was priced at about $25++ if i remember correctly.
black forest @  coffee beanstro
I wouldn't mind chilling out beside the fountain with a drink though. The caffeine-addict in me was satisfied with an iced blended Black Forest- my favorite drink at the Coffee Bean. For those unacquainted with CBTL's menu, this drink is blended with chocolate espresso beans and maraschino cherries.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Beanstro
Canal Level, B2-20 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 7001 
Opening hours: 8am - 11pm (Sun-Thurs), 8am - 2am (Fri-Sat)

August 3, 2012

Uma Uma Ramen

I like Santouka’s pork cheek ramen so much that I won’t think twice about where to get my ramen fix whenever a craving hits. But I sometimes find myself at other ramen places following the whims and fancies of my ramen-obsessed friend, who brought me to the newly-opened outpost of the Fukuoka noodle chain Uma Uma Ramen.
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The menu here is limited to two ramen varieties- the original Uma Uma ramen and a spicy version- as well as a small selection of side dishes and drinks. Do note that the ramen does not come with tamago- I should have perused the menu more thoroughly before ordering, sigh.
uma uma ramen menu
 As characteristic of Hakata-style ramen, the noodles here are straight and skinny, with a soft and silky bite. They're not my favorite type of noodles though- I like mine thick and firm or springy. The fall-apart tender chashu was pretty decent as well, but could have been more flavorful. 

The soup was, however, a let-down for me. I relish the heartiness of a full-bodied tonkotsu broth, and Uma Uma's version was somewhat lacking in depth of flavor and richness. Perhaps those who usually find tonkotsu soup too thick and salty for their liking will take a liking to Uma Uma’s broth.
spicy chashu ramen @ uma uma ramen
 No comments about the spicy chashu ramen since I'm not usually a fan of anything with chilli.

Whether you'll like Uma Uma probably boils down to your preferences. It's worth a try if you're curious about their noodles...but I personally prefer good ol' Santouka.

583 Orchard Road, Forum the Shopping Mall, #01-41/42/43
Singapore 238884
Opening hours 11:30am-3:00pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Mon-Sat); 11:30am-sold out (Sun)
Tel: 6235 1088