Monday, March 26, 2012

The Matcha Match Round 3 : Some really good ones outshine the rest

爽    薫る抹茶&バニラ
2種類の抹茶をブレンドし、薫り豊かな抹茶の味わいが楽しめます。
This series of lotte ice cream is less creamy and more icy. As the word 爽 suggests a refreshing feel, the water content is higher and does not make one feel too sick of the creaminess. 
Open Sesame: Opening this ice cream is like opening a door
This blend of matcha and vanilla ice cream is also surprisingly not too sweet and as you poke your spoon or fork inside, you feel literally as though you are breaking ice.

Glico Cream Parlour Cookies and Green Tea Cream Chocolate (7 Pieces per box)
The taste is similar to Lotte Crunchy Chocolate Series as biscuits bits are mixed into the chocolate. However, the matcha flavour is not that strong but crunchy chocolate lovers would still find this a delight.

Monteur 2Pieces Uji Matcha Waffle
香り高い抹茶のワッフル。風味豊かな宇治抹茶を使用。オリジナルホイップと抹茶ペーストをブレンドしたクリームと、こしあんの2層仕立て。ふんわりしっとり食感の生地で包みました。個食タイプの2個入りです。 

Even though this seems like a very simple snack, I highly recommend this because the texture is surprisingly soft, fluffy and not dry at all. The texture is so smooth that it can compete with sponge cakes from top patisseries here. 
Value for $$
The waffle is not the crispy kind but bouncy and soft. Each is filled with a lot of matcha cream that is made from Uji matcha and only a little bit of azuki bean paste is sandwiched in between the waffle and the matcha cream. Another plus factor that all the components in this package is not too sweet and suit adults' palate. 
MegMilk Matcha LatteMEGMILK石臼挽きの抹茶ラテ
まろやかミルクに宇治抹茶が香るコク深い味わいの抹茶ラテです。ミルクと相性のよい京都産石臼挽き宇治抹茶を使用、本格的な味わいが楽しめます 
Last but not least, this matcha latte also uses Uji Matcha that has been grinded. One can really tastes the richness of the milk in this as compared to those instant kind of latte. Another recommended matcha beverage. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

怀旧情怀:砂煲饭

Claypotfun 顾名思义,就是卖大家从小吃到大的砂煲饭。这里的食物走的是广东路线,不只有砂煲饭,还有粥、热炒猪肝。去年推出的早餐还包括肠粉及港式点心。I'm sure some people might have heard about it or even tried the food here as it was featured on various media before. Claypotfun is actually a restaurant under Jumbo Group of Restaurants, Palm Beach Seafood and Seafood International. It brings you  back to the 1960s when you stepped into the restaurant as its interior settings recreate this sort of vintage feel.
Signature Dish: Claypot Rice with Preserved Chinese Sausages ($17.80) 
The price is of course, a lot more expensive than the $3/4/5 claypot rice in hawker centres. This can be shared between 2 or feed 1 hungry cow. According to various sources, the various ingredients are tossed into the half-cooked rice to let the flavours meld with the rice. 
Here, they do not advocate us to eat with the thick sweet dark soya sauce but instead a bottle of their special made light soya sauce is placed on each table and diners add according to their preference. They also suggested the various ways of enjoying the pot of rice.  
the verdict is that the rice is indeed quite firm as the Cantonese traditional style stipulates the rice to be soaked for 30min and then left dry. the taste is not lacking even though light soya sauce is used instead of dark soy sauce. However, one thing lacking is that there is no strong claypot rice smell when the claypot lid is lifted. The dish lacked the fragrance as compared to previous claypot rice I had at hawker centres and I find it a little dry even though there is plenty of ingredients like the chicken drumsticks. 
Perhaps one good thing is that this version is less oily and one need not feel too guilty scraping the charred rice at the bottom as the rice are not that overburnt or "cao da".
Cantonese style fish congee (i added salted egg and century egg so it becomes $5.50 instead of $4.50)
The porridge is just of the right consistency and well seasoned. Nothing particularly wrong about this dish but I wish they can be more generous with the number of fish slices.
Fermented Cabbage 菜心炒腐乳酱 $7
I did not expect this to be served in a claypot as well. The cabbage is crunchy and one has to mix well with the fermented tofu sauce found at the base. It seems that this dish is a little too simplified as there is no other garnishes and appeared more to be a pot of hot salad with dipping sauce. The portion of cabbage can be increased as there was a shallow pool of sauce left at the base in the end. 
Dessert: 雪蛤 (Cold/Hot) to balance the heatiness of the claypot rice
As the claypot rice is made on order, one must be prepared to wait for at least 15min during peak hours. Although the claypot rice is quite average, I am interested to return for their hongkong dimsum.
Claypotfun
902 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 
www.claypotfun.com.sg 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Can't get enough of Matcha Desserts : 焼き菓子、ふわふわ抹茶餅

As we continue the search for matcha sweets, have you ever wondered why usually Kyoto Uji matcha is used instead of Shizuoka matcha? In fact, Shizuoka Prefecture accounts for half of the green tea leaves produced in Japan. I tried to google for an answer but it seems like both Kyoto Uji and Shizuoka produce high grade quality green tea. Hence, both are known as Japan's Top 2 Matcha Production Area. Nonetheless, if we were to name a third one, it would be 八女 from Fukuoka. There seems to be no straight answer for which is the best but perhaps Uji matcha has become so well known that a product would fetch higher sales if marketed under the name of Uji matcha.
Andeico Double Layer Matcha Dessert
平安神宮にも奉納されている歴史と伝統ある「丸宗」が厳選した京都産宇治抹茶を使用。しっとり焼上げたくちどけの良い抹茶スフレと、なめらかに仕上げたクリームのような抹茶プリンの2層デザート。 
the green tea used here is from the famous green tea specialty shop in Kyoto called Marusou "丸宗". This old shop dates back around 200 years ago to 1781. Matcha tea leaves from this company is only harvested once a year, which makes them very premium. Back to the dessert, why is it called double layer? it is because the upper layer of this dessert is a baked matcha cake while the bottom is rich creamy pudding.
Those who have experienced baking with real matcha powder will know that the baked goods will come out with a brown top layer, which is exactly shown here. 
And once you dig into the cup, there is the soft rich green tea cream (even though it is said to be pudding). This dessert is well executed as the baked top layer does not seem to be placed on top of the pudding layer but  made together with the pudding. It sticks to the pudding and thus it makes me wonder how they actually manufactured it in the factory.

Though this is available at a cheap price in various convenience stores, the taste is not compromised and I dare say that this is even better than most green tea sweets so far because it is not sweet at all.
モチクリーム京風宇治金時 Mochi Cream Series : Matcha Azuki Mochi
I am not sure if this is produced under the company mochicream as the inside of this mochi looks different from the picture shown on the company website. Nonetheless, it is possible that the producer has varied the products slightly and released it as a convenience store snack. 
Like most mochi, this innocent looking ball is also dusted with matcha powder.
however......the azuki bean filling is so little as compared to the usual wagashi that it can't be spotted in the cross section....but i like it this way.

This is more likely to be a fusion between traditional Japanese sweets and western sweets because there is not much azuki to be found. Instead, the ultra-thin mochi skin wraps the green tea whipped cream, followed by the usual whipped cream and lastly the azuki beans in its rather original shape (not fully mashed ) This mochi dessert perfectly suits me because Japanese wagashi filled with red bean paste is usually sweet and the taste is very predictable. But for this, the amount of green tea cream: whipped cream: azuki bean is about 3:1:1, which is an appropriate ratio to me. Also, the mochi skin is not too thick and thus a pleasure to consume.

i used to remember spotting mochicream with beard papa in Singapore. But apparently, mochicream no longer has any shops in Singapore as listed from its website. this is surprisingly good and there are also other flavours such as kinako black bean, strawberry shortcake, chocolate and almond, blueberry cheesecake available in some convenience stores here. Nonetheless, the mochicream website also allows those who are lazy to walk out to do some online shopping. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Matcha Match Round 1

Recently, there is an increasing number of green tea related products and this is certainly a good news for matcha lovers. Though most of them are rather sweet than bitter, it is still interesting to see how the snacks scientists here incorporate the familiar taste into everyday snacks. The rise in the number of such products are testimony to the popularity of matcha among the locals here. 
Fujiya LOOK in Chocolate Series:  Matcha Mousse Truffle  ルック生クリームin(抹茶) 
寒い季節に食べたくなるなめらかな口どけのよさと、抹茶ならでは芳醇な香りがたつクリームにこだわった、上質感のあるルックチョコレートです。
Though this is released during winter, the green tea chocolate tasted best at room temperature as the mousse encased in the chocolate shell softens and melts immediately as you pop one into your mouth. Can't really taste anything if it is eaten straight as hard as a rock in cold temperature.  That's why they say good things require patience 
Country Ma'am Series Matcha Latte Cookie カントリーマアム(抹茶ラテ)
抹茶フレーバーのデザートドリンクをイメージしたカントリーマアムです。芳しい香りと上品な味わいの宇治抹茶を練りこみました。北海道産の牛乳と生クリームを入れることによって、宇治抹茶のほどよい苦味をちょうど良いバランスに仕上げたやさしい味のカントリーマアムです。冷やすといつもと違った固めの食感やひんやり感が楽しめます 
They tried to incorporate the matcha drink into a cookie using hokkaido cream and Uji famous green tea. 
Filled with dark and white choc chips, the texture of the cookie is not much different from the usual country ma'am cookie. 
Tohato Caramel Corn:  matcha black sugar flavour 

キャラメルコーン・抹茶黒みつ味
キャラメルコーンの春季限定フレーバー。 香り豊かな宇治抹茶のほろ苦さとコクのある黒みつのまろやかな甘さが、お口の中に広がる「抹茶黒みつ味」です
Crunchy and as light as air as usual,  but much more fragrant than the other flavours. 
This is one of the more impressive Tohato Corn products I've had so far because there are some that tasted too artificial. This one is rather mild and not overly sweetened. 



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

岷江:稳扎稳打

沙茶鸭
Min Jiang is another familiar name when it comes to dimsum, dinner or sze chuan cuisine. Opened since 1982, it has established itself as a Chinese restaurant in Goodwood Park hotel and has also another outlet at Rochester Park. We went on a weekday but several tables were occupied. Contrary to many online food reviews, the food here was not too bad(though we did not go for the dim sum). 

Free Appetizer of the day: A kind of sauteed mushroom

醉鸡 (served in a nice moon-shaped plate)
酒香算浓郁,有人还把酒喝到完了。但是喜欢这道菜的人认为还是shangri la香宫的醉鸡味道更加另人回味无穷。
松菇炒芦笋
这道菜一般,芦笋非常润滑,炒到与松菇的口感相当一致。松菇还蛮少见的,不过其实本身没什么蘑菇香味。所以下次见到这种菇类应该不会买。


海鲜焖面线
面线带有黏性,比起蛤蜊面线少了点甜味,但多出了大锅炒的香味。这是单点一人份$10。虽然不便宜,但海鲜份量一点都不吝啬。带子与虾都非常弹牙鲜甜,火候拿捏得恰到好处。
岷江炒面
招牌面,有豆芽、虾仁、蛋丝等。口感与焖面线雷同。但口味较重,有黑酱油的香味儿。不过整体来说它并没有什么独有的特色风味。
 
炖鸡汤
颜色与口感都挺浓稠。印象一般。

小笼包
热腾腾的小笼包。有人觉得汤汁不够,有的认为还好,或许有点inconsistent.

不过我觉得小笼包的皮不够细薄,整体得分不高。
樱花虾蟹肉炒茄子
美观得分,樱花虾铺盖在蛋上面,下面有切成长方形的茄子与爆香的肉脆末。比起鱼香茄子,这道菜少了很多油,但层次感丰富。让人惊艳的一道菜。
樱花虾的脆香与炒蛋和茄子的润滑感达到了美妙的平衡,非常配饭。这种茄子的煮法很少见,让我也很想尝试炒出这道菜。
沙茶鸭
招牌鸭料理,说穿了就是北京烤鸭。
服务人员会很贴心的包起一份又一份。就是面皮,黄瓜,鸭肉与甜鸭酱。
鸭肉皮非常香脆,肉质还不错。但面皮少了蛋香。甜面酱配什么都好吃,所以不吃肉,用面皮沾着吃都行。
红枣雪蛤
炖燕窝
芒果布丁
对于中式甜品我没有什么意见。大致上味道,选择都是这几样。中规中矩。
总在想中式甜品何时才会有创新。。。

从现在至七月是goodwood park hotel 的榴莲节。今年的新商品是durian chocolate banana mousse(左上角)和右下角的durian macadamia tart. 若购买他们的durian combo价格比较划算。还包括每年的热门durian mousse cake(右上角)、durian cappucino mousse cake和 2 durian puffs.
去这家四川餐馆饱餐一顿,却发现我们并没有点到什么四川风味的菜。不过其实也没什么关系。好吃就好。到了餐厅后才发现原来它得过不少奖。可是整体来说,食物风格大致上都与其他中餐馆雷同,算是走稳扎稳打路线的一家餐厅。下次想拭它们的点心buffet.

岷江川菜馆
http://www.goodwoodparkhotel.com/min-jiang-,dining_viewItem_10-en.html 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Eat Okinawa : the Morning Breakfast Indulgence @ Beach Tower Okinawa

Having a hearty breakfast on the sunny Okinawa Island would surely help one jumpstart the day. Beach Tower Okinawa offered a greater variety of food and they changed some of their menu daily as most hotel visitors stay in the hotel for more than a day. For example, raw tuna with grated yam was served on the first day but this was changed to vinegared cuttlefish on the 2nd day.

Here are some of the yummy delights:
Bacon & sausages
Okinawa Sliced Pork Belly...ooh looked at the pool of oil

Cold Tofu in Soy Sauce
Local Delicacy-Fried Bittergourd Chips and The usual guest-Potato Fries
Having fresh grilled Saba for breakfast is an indulgence!
Okinawa Salt (made in various islands of Okinawa) to go with the grilled Saba *thumbs up* Very Simple yet delicious
Another indulgence....Raw Tuna sashimi with grated yam
Onsen soft boiled egg....Delicious but this is always cold. Would prefer hot ones like those from our local kopitiams
 self service Okinawa Soba topped with onsen egg.....this is a specimen
have to add hot soup of simmered pork spare ribs to the bowl of soba. Okinawa soba is different from the usual soba because it is whiter and flat...like our chinese ban mian
the salad bar is different from the usual ones because of their dressings....here you can have pineapple, mango, the usual japanese style dressing....and pink dragonfruit dressing!!

And they even thought of the kids....

I tried some of the dishes from the kids section. Some like the carrot egg warm salad is tasty but the soup of broccolli and cauliflower is too bland.  I doubt any kids will like that veggie soup.
Selection of fruits (Pink Dragonfruit / Grapefruit....)
The Plain Yoghurt goes with either white sugar (right) or the black sugar (far right)
Yummy delicious French Toast....the sweet eggy taste was found in the toast. More hotels should serve this for morning buffet breakfast.
I like the wide variety of bread selection. Great for bread lovers like me.From Melon Pan, French Baguette, Pancakes, White bread......
to Croissants and Bread Rolls....served with variety of jam and marmalades
Warm Sauteed Papaya with Ham
And how not to forget the Okinawa Mosugu....but like natto, not all Japanese like this vinegared seaweed dish.
Hot Fish Soup with Okinawa Spices
My another favourite Okinawa dish...the Goya Chanpuru! Stir fry bittergourd with eggs and luncheon meat.

After a heavy breakfast, time to take a break and get ready for the local Okinawa Snacks.
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