Saturday, 31 January 2015

SINGAPORE: Chicken rice!!

Helloooooo Ladles and Jellyspoons,

Since today is a fairly relaxed day, I can catch up a little on the blog. As I told my friend, we eat at a faster rate than we can write the blogs at. Anyway I hope you've all been well, summer is still going strong huh? Well, in our part of the world anyway :P

So today's post is about chicken rice which is one of our favourite dishes here in Singapore. It's normally under the name of Hainanese Chicken rice and there are options for boned or boneless chicken. For the simple reason that I find the process of deboning the chicken before I consume it, I prefer boneless chicken. These foods are normally found in hawker centres and are perhaps not as cheap as a $3 bowl of noodles but still affordable. According to my father one of the best local chicken rice(in our area anyway, which is central/west ish) is at the Alexandra Food centre.

This place has a lot of other stuff that's good too but for now I'll concentrate on chicken rice. I believe the price of half a chicken for 2 people was about $11, which is pretty good. It also comes with rice and soup. By the way if you look at the sign you'll see "self service" which means they wont go to your table to serve you so you'd better wait there for the food.

Taste wise I'm not totally sure how to describe it. The dish with the chicken itself has cucumbers and some other spicy vegetable type on there, and there's a sauce that comes with it which is nice but since it's a bit oily you don't find yourself wanting to have a lot. Flavor-wise the chicken doesn't have a strong flavour but its pleasant to the taste buds and the texture of the soft skin combined with the well cooked -but not dry- flesh of the chicken.

All in all it's probably one of our staples here aside from mee bok. We really recommend trying it :)

So yup this was a fairly short post, nothing much to comment on.

The Lambs(but mostly just the one...)

Friday, 23 January 2015

SINGAPORE: Tiong Bahru market cha siu noodles

Sup ladles and jellyspoons~

As we mentioned before, we've landed in Singapore and we intend to blog about the food here too. Because we can. If you didn't get that then I don't know how you've been reading this blog cause that was just a couple of posts ago haha. We'll be going to places like Bugis Junction, Tiong Bahru, Orchard Road etc etc (the list really is somewhat endless). Basically just trying out local food, fancier places and whatever we come across really. So straight off into the eats!

Tiong Bahru Market (foodcourt with market below) is where we started the very next day (see how dedicated we are to you guys?) Places like these aren't called foodcourts as much as they're called Hawker centres. It's essentailly the Singaporean version of a foodcourt, and although some modern places have begun making foodcourts in the same style, it all originated from these outdoor eateries. The great thing about places like this is the choice. Or the not so great thing. Depends how decisive you are really. Or how much you can eat. Or how much weight you allow yourself to gain... Anyways.

Hawker centres are literally everywhere. From town centres to small rural areas. As we mentioned earlier there is a huge variety to choose from. You often hear people talking about how cheap food in Asia is, and you have to realize that it's cheap in these specific places. You are not going to head to a restaurant and find a steak for $3. This isn't Las Vegas. But to be honest, when you do travel to these places, it's the Hawker centres that offer that level of authenticity and home feel to it, throwing you right into Singapore's busy lifestyle and culture. It's fantastic. But if that's not your thing then go wild and splurge on a nice restaurant, the quality of those are top class as well. But more on that as we go.

In this particular hawker centre we went with the following:

Kaya guyu - SGD $1.80 for 2 servings.
This is something that Singapore is known for, their kaya. For those who don't know what Kaya is, it's a food spread, made out of eggs and sugar, sometime's coconut milk too along with the pandan leaf which gives it the green colour. You know how some countries like their bread with peanut butter? Or butter? Or tuna? This is the Singapore/Malaysia equivalent. So of course as soon as we saw it we just had to order one.. or two in this case.. It's something that reminds us of childhood really. This one was rather disappointing, we think we know better places though so we'll definitely find a more satisfying one before we leave. The bread was ridiculously thin, I mean, how they managed to slice it so thin... Maybe they have a bread slicer and set it to the paper setting. Granted it was 90c a serve so that would explain it. The overall taste was pretty flavorful balance was fine (why I'm talking about balance in what can be classed as street food I'll never know) not too much Kaya and not this fat blob of butter where you feel like you're just chomping down on a ton of fat and oil (trust me it has happened more times than we want to remember). Incredibly fast to get, literally like 2 minutes, food comes out very fast in these places, as the more they serve the more money they make so it's pretty much the fast food of this country.

Char Siu plate SGD $12-15 - Char Siu is a Chinese stlye grilled pork. It has this flavour combination of being both sweet and savoury due to its marinade and also usually sticky because it kind of caramelizes (which is usually the best part). This is a very typical dish to have in almost any Chinese place not just Singapore but we find that we haven't found a satisfying one in New Zealand yet anyways. (Let us know if you know any places and we'll check it out)
This sounds INCREDIBLY expensive for food from a hawker centre but apparently this particular char siew was from a good part of the pig. Dad translated it as "part of the pig that doesn't see the sun", and Jia decided to link that to the phrase "stick it where the sun don't shine" which means.. well..yea.. If you don't know what it means ask your parents kids. It WAS delicious though, and satisfying making it pretty worth the price. There were some parts that were overly fatty much like a pork belly that Song had cooked in 2014 (hey I can use that phrase now) where the amount of lean was maybe like 10% and the rest was fat. We decided that that part was actually pork belly just because of the way it was split, we are by no means pig experts. This plate was about 500g-600g and filled all 3 of us up easily and we even had to pack a few pieces home. The line for this was incredibly long, and the saying goes that if the line is long, the place is good. More or less the rule you should go by when coming here

Cha siu with wonton noodles(Didn't get a picture, sorry guys). SGD $4
We liked the thin noodles. Some noodles in Singapore have a delightful aftertaste that is at once strange but delicious. (I have no idea what Jia was saying here. I found the actual taste of the noodles here to be a bit strange. Apparently they do it themselves but it wasn't really to my liking.. ~Song) The pork was of the same variety as the aforementioned probably pork belly with some vegetable on the side and was about $4.  It also came with a small bowl of soup with little wonton in it(Jia used to call them brains because aside from the extra skin floating around it, it resembled a brain. Unfortunately Jia ate it so you'll have to imagine that for yourselves), which was nice. The soup usually makes me thirsty, and its a bit peppery but was a bit lighter this time (and again had the same taste as the noodles so it was a little weird to Song).

On a parting note; a few rules for going to Hawker centres are;

  • Always have tissues with you because they don't usually provide it
  • Always keep an eye on your belongings
  • Try to go toilet at the hotel or wherever you're staying because it's not usually clean at the hawker centre(mall bathrooms are clean and modern as far as i know), and also squat toilets are most definitely still a thing in Singapore.
  • It's good to have smaller notes because the stall owners may not have change for $50.
  • While it may sound like you're following sheep(like us), it's good to go to the stalls that have big lines because they're usually the good ones.
OK with that, we'll leave you for today :D
Stick around~

The Lambs

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

SINGAPORE: How Much Does a Dumpling Weigh?

I got that little gem from Tiffany. It made me laugh so hard.
Greetings ladles and jellyspoons;
We are aware of our lack of posts but this is because the klutzy lamb of the family has gone and dropped her phone fatally, and we are now looking around for viable options to repair it and recover the photos and notes taken from our food outings. It's really just been a series of unfortunate events for me (Jia) and I eventually reached a point where I wondered if I had a cursed touch with electronics. First I arrived in Singapore and my laptop wasn't - and still isn't- working, then I broke my phone, then I started using my father's laptop and somehow that shut down all of a sudden one day for no apparent reason and Songie was hesitant to let me touch any of his electronics after that....yeah you get the idea. In any case the laptop started working randomly yesterday so I was pretty happy. We were quite diligent in not eating the food until a picture was taken and it's really difficult not being able to post when we have so much to write about.
I did get a new phone recently (it's very cool), but I'm unwilling to revisit every single place all over again because it was often spontaneous eating upon reaching different places. Buuuuut I'm sure our stuff is recoverable so its fine.
Upon purchasing the phone in JEM(Jurong East Mall), we went to eat at Din Tai Fung, which I think Asian readers may know of. Their Xiao Long Bao(dumplings with soup inside) are really good. Since it was my first day of having the phone I think I can be excused for a few unfocussed photos I think.....

It's a nice place, suitable for casual lunches/dinners and also formal ones, as most classy Chinese restaurants are. It's based on a first-come-first-serve basis I believe, although it's probable that you can book a table. Usually around lunch time they get extremely packed and you'd have to wait a good 15-20 minutes depending on your party size. It's not a very noisy place, unless there are loud babies nearby or something.

There's more but I didn't get a photo because I was busy learning how to use the phone, sorry guys!

Okay, the food.

Drunken Chicken

This dish is small but really, really nice. It's steamed chicken that's been soaked in Chinese wine, and the flavour of the wine isn't overpowering but rather enhances the taste of the chicken. The chicken itself is tender and pleasant to the tastebuds.  Yes I know good things come in small packages but I wanted more. This cost $7.50. At that price I wasn't as keen on getting more.

Xiao Long Bao

We are certain they have perfected the art of Xiao Long Bao because they are just amazing. If you wait a few minutes for it to cool down, it is actually the perfect temperature to go into your mouth and pop without the soup scalding your mouth. For those of you who have not had these dumplings before, they are (usually meat) dumplings that -if made well- have soup inside them and you can lift them and put them on your spoon with the skin staying intact and the soup remaining inside.

Of course as a result the inside is usually still quite hot so its good to be careful when eating them. Like an egg yolk, you can pop it and let the soup ooze into your spoon(as shown above) and drink it before eating the dumpling, or you can put the whole dumpling in your mouth and let it pop on your tongue. When I was younger I used to pop all of them and let the soup drip into a bowl, and after collecting enough I would drink the soup by itself. By then it was a bit cold and its not as delicious. Personally I can't eat more than 8 because they're quite filling and oily in a sense, but Songie loves them and claims to be able to eat them every day. We ordered 20 at the price of $19.60.

Truffle dumpling

This one I did not try personally, because I've had it before and I wasn't keen on it. Contrary to the appearance, we did not in fact forget to take a picture before eating it, we really only ordered 1. it was $4.50 for one so you can see why. According to Songie it was really good since the unique taste of the truffle mushroom was really strong. (Song here - not really a unique taste, it just tastes like a mushroom but its a really different flavor from the normal versions)

Yam paste dumplings

This is a dessert type dumpling, with sweet yam paste inside. I didn't have any this time (She's lying. She had one) because I'm trying to cut back on sweets(I know, that's amazing), but I do recall them being delicious. Its not soupy at all, but the paste is sweet and smooth. I don't like how the skin of the dumpling gets a bit hard once it cooled down, but I guess that's because they intended for us to eat it warm. We ordered 10 at $8.80.

Overall the cost was about $50, including tea. Price wise I guess this is a normal price and the food is really good. It is quite expensive though and you could definitely get the same amount of food at a much lower price at a hawker centre but the type of food is very different, as well as the venue.

The service was good; the food came out pretty fast, the waitresses were nice and patient with us non-Chinese speaking customers, and our tea and water was constantly filled up. They were also attentive with clearing the table which I think is good.

All in all, a good place to go, just maybe not for students on a budget. Anyway it's good to be back in the blogisphere; stick around and we'll hopefully blog more frequently unless more technical issues arise. We'll  leave you with some pictures of desserts from the Food Republic at ION Orchard.

Mango Pudding

Aloe Vera and Grass jelly dessert from the same place. Unsure of the actual name.

The Lambs

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Lambs have Lamb'ded in Singapore!

Greetings ladles and Jellyspoons

Changi airport

HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!! Its still the New Year so I can still say it. Wow 2015. You know my sister thought Finding Dory was coming out this year? I think we are so hyped for that movie, even though it only comes out NEXT year. I mean who isn't excited for Dory right? The character more liked than the main character and... -cough- ahem. Anyways...
So anybody who hung out with us, chatted to us or follows Jia on Instagram would know that we're in Singapore now. We landed on the 3rd after a stopover in Melbourne, was pretty tiring as it was practically half a day of flying. Why do people bring babies on board? We had like. 10 and they were either singing, screaming or some other loud noise. Pretty cute when they're quiet though. In actual fact we were meant to arrive a lot earlier but well as luck would have it we had to postpone our flight for rather silly reasons.
We had dinner at Changi Airport upstairs at a place called Paradise Inn, was nice to have food that wasn't the airplane stuff. I mean don't get me wrong its actually not too bad but it doesn't compare to normal food.

We were going to do a review on this place but in the end decided not to.

A lot of you probably went clubbing or partying and nursed a hangover for the first morning of 2015. We normally aren't in NZ for Xmas and New Years but we were this year so of course we took the opportunity to pick strawberries(Because that's the normal thing to do isn't it).

We went to the Massey Sweet Red Strawberry Farm that's open until the 6th of February, so if you were thinking of heading down and getting a few strawberries you've got a fair bit of time to plan to do it. It was a pretty sunny day so we, mother, and Wendigo got some buckets and started picking. 

At first I despaired of finding strawberries cause I saw everyone moving further down for the strawberries but I managed to find a lot that were red and sweet and overlooked. Actually it was pretty weird cos some strawberries had been bitten into - but still on the stem. Some people were just going for the huge red juicy ones, I wasn't too picky as long as it was red.

Some looked a bit... unique.

I sorta forgot to eat breakfast in the rush to lather on sunscreen and head out to Massey before 10am, so I was snacking on them as i picked. At some point it was mostly about eating rather than picking since my little bucket was full. The cost is $8/kg, so we had about 10kg in total. Still cheaper than a supermarket but in hindsight, honestly, what did we think we were gonna do with 10kgs of strawberries?!

These cuties
We also tried out some strawberry icecream!! (They have a yoghurt version too)

Some get a bit wonky like mine so i quickly dunked it into a cup before i lost it like an unfortunate child before me in the queue.

Bro's strawberry split(?)

She's eyeing my strawberry D:

I (Jia) had a surplus (obviously) of apples and strawberries so the next day i made some crumble. Despite the sweetness of the strawberries, it turned out quite sour and tangy, and the crumble(some leftover from something bro and Wendigo made some time ago) didn't do much to fix it. I made my usual apple crumble but forgot to squeeze in the orange that i had to make it a tiny bit sour, so that ended up a bit too sweet. I contemplated mixing them together but I wasn't sure how that'd turn out... Yeah.

So basically, this is the first post of an overseas start! Being in Singapore we're definitely gonna review some of the places that we eat at while shopping and we are DEFINITELY going to get to places like Hawker centres (more on that later for those who don't know) and experience some old style Singaporean flavour. It's almost like you guys are here with us! So stay tuned and there'll be an avalanche of posts coming your way!

The Lambs(yes, a joint post at last!!)

First sunrise in Singapore
(Edit: sorry for the weird white space; laptop currently broken down, will fix when using a normal computer again; until then sorry for the lack of aesthetics)