Archive for October, 2010

Nanowrimo 2010!!!

Nanowrimo is upon us again!!







Mandarin Hotel Wedding Dinner

It’s always a little tough to take pictures of the food during a Chinese wedding dinner because there are 9 other hungry diners all eager to earn back the Ang Pow money they gave away. With them staring at you and giving you the evil eye, getting a shot of the entire dish intact, without an arm or a spoon in the way is quite a feat!

I like attending weddings. Contrary to some other people I know of, I do enjoy the food very much. These are dishes I would not normally order on my own, so I treat wedding dinners as a grand restaurant dining experience. It’s also nice to see the wedding couple’s photo album, especially if they’ve had their shots taken in exotic locales. I’ve even heard of couples that book a tour package overseas, and at every stop, instead of visiting the sights like the other tourists, they get their wedding photos taken. That is so cool, but imagine the hassle of having to dress up every single day for 5 – 10 days?!?!

Here are some photos I snapped during my cousin’s wedding at Mandarin Oriental Singapore. I totally missed out the baby abalone dish, probably because I myself was too engrossed in trying to fight for the largest piece! I loved the dishes that my cousin chose, some of them were quite unique in that I’ve never seen them being served before in a Chinese wedding.

Mandarin Oriental - Combination Platter

 Combination Platter – My perennial favourite has to be the crispy pork skin. Nothing like crispy fats to whet your appetite! I also loved the crispy silver fish!

Mandarin Oriental - Shark Fin double boiled with conpoy

Shark Fin double boiled with chicken and conpoy – I am not one of those people who would abstain from having the shark’s fin soup. My reason is, the shark is already dead. Not eating it would be a greater waste of its life. If we want to stop the killing, let’s not kid ourselves that we are doing a big deal by abstaining. The Partner has been abstaining from eating Shark’s Fin for the last 10 years. Did any of his friends change their actions because of this? NO.

If you want to stop the killing, let’s see some major action, such as starting a campaign, or writing letters to the government or something. Do something that is more visible and impactful than just simple abstaining, which is in my opinion, a lazy way of kidding yourself that you did something good.

Mandarin Oriental - King Prawn

King Prawns – Nicely presented, and tasted really good. The prawns were still piping hot when served.

Mandarin Oriental - Crispy Roasted Duck 

Crispy Roasted Duck – The house sauce paired very well with the duck, which was moist and succulent.

Mandarin Oriental - Fillet of Cod (2)

Fillet of Cod – Man how did my cousin know I love cod??? This is not the usual type of fish served during weddings, which I normally dislike.

Mandarin Oriental - Fillet of Cod

Mandarin Oriental - Chilli Crab Mantou 

Mantou with Crab – Instead of the usual fried rice or Ee Foo noodles that are served at this stage, we were presented with crispy mantou buns. I think I ran out of adjectives to describe how wonderful this dish was. Mantous are always a good conveyor of sauce. Look at the chunks of crab meat! Mandarin Oriental - Tiramisu

Tiramisu – Lastly, the dessert. Thank god it wasn’t the icky sticky Or Nee (yam paste), which I find to be too cheapo for a wedding.

Well, it was a wonderful dinner. Congratulations to my cousin on finally getting married. As you can see, he is a modern man with modern tastes!

Marina Bay Sands and RISE Restaurant

The other day, thanks to a conference I had to attend, I finally made my maiden trip to Marina Bay Sands. The Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre was just awesome. It was as grand as can be. Everything looked so polished, the whole place looked so humongous and spacious, and even the doors looked 3 times my height.

On the 4th floor where my conference was held, you could look out onto the Singapore River and at all the buildings along Shenton Way. For the 1st time in my life, I could actually see Singapore from an angle that just 1 year ago did not exist! It was just a very awesome and inspiring feeling, and if I as a Singaporean can feel this way, imagine what it would be like for all the foreign delegates. I have no doubt that we now have one of the finest convention centres in the world.

A friend who works at MBS went to London for a holiday recently. He commented that Big Ben was not as impressive as MBS. I’d thought he was joking because how can something so steeped in history be compared to MBS? I may still disagree with him but I can certainly now understand why he felt so.

I have one advice for MBS though, do something to the noisy doors! Every time a delegate leaves the conference, the door slams shut loudly. If there were a bad speaker, half the room would leave in boredom, the other half would leave in irritation at the noise from the slamming doors.

Anyway….that was the Convention Centre. After the conference, we tried out the Rise Restaurant. There was the buffet going on, but after all the canapes I had at the conference, I wasn’t too keen on a full fledged buffet, at $70+ no less! Decided to go local in the end.

MBS Rise Restaurant -Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng – It was not bad, but I think the hawker centre nasi goreng is far better. Only the satay was good enough to have to pay hotel prices for local food. The peanut sauce was also very flavourful and crunchy.

MBS Rise Restaurant - Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice – Shockingly, this was quite bad. The rice was only warm, and it felt mushy. There was no fragrance to the rice, the type you’d expect when eating chicken rice. The chicken fared only slightly better. It’s a disaster if you ask me. The only thing good there is the soup and the sliced cucumber. Hotels always charge an arm and a leg for local food, so at the very least, I expect them to deliver a pretty good meal. If you had me blindfolded, I would not have guessed that this was produced by a chef working in a hotel.

MBS Rise Restaurant - Chicken Rice 2

Marina Bay Sands

Conclusion: I was awed by the Convention Centre, and brought back to earth by the Rise Restaurant.

RISE Restaurant

Marina Bay Sands

10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956

Tel: +65 6688 8868

ToTT Store (Tools of the Trade) – Review

So I did make it to ToTT over the weekend. It was mighty cavernous I must say. It was so spacious as compared to the Sia Huat Store in Chinatown. Everything was laid out nicely and neatly shelf after shelf, complete with name labels and prices.

I was hoping to find a Pantry Magic lookalike but on a larger scale, but it was not to be. There was very little cutesy, colourful spatulas, spoons, bowls, baking moulds and stuff. The things are also not cheap, so it’s not like an outing to Ikea where you can just indulge in buying items you know you’re probably never going to use. It’s still basically what Sia Huat sells at Chinatown except it looks a bit more sophisticated. The place would be great for business owners who want to find kitchen equipment such as a huge rice cooker to cook rice for 100 people. But if you ever require any particular kitchen equipment or cookware, your best bet is still to go to Sia Huat, but it would be a very utilitarian looking version of it. I don’t think they have that many cookbooks for sale either. If it’s cookbooks you’re after, you’re best going off to Borders, MPH or Kinokuniya.

ToTT’s still worth a visit though, especially if you live around the area. For one, they have this really interesting concept where you buy some cookie dough, decorate it and bake it there and then in the special kitchen. I was there and overheard the kids commenting on just how strange it was to be doing baking there.

Then there’s also the cooking studio, and the Bistro. We had lunch at the Bistro while we were there. Prices were pretty affordable. The Bistro looks like the Ikea canteen, but let’s just say that I don’t think Ikea will be fretting over lost business in the cooked food department. 

ToTT - Salmon

Baked Salmon – So So.

ToTT - Baked Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

 Baked Chicken – The chicken was quite nice, even if a little dry. They were also very generous with the mushrooms in the mushroom sauce. I liked the amount of raisin put within the coleslaw, and I liked the crunch of the slaw.

ToTT - Egg drop soup with Quail Egg

 Egg Drop Soup with Quail Egg – This was definitely a let down. Even the staff knew that and were recommending the mushroom soup. There was a surprise hardboiled quail’s egg in the soup so that was a nice touch. And they certainly are generous with the seaweed too.

ToTT - Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup – This was very nice for a $2.50 soup. It was creamy and thick. Only issue, it was not hot, but I suppose that boils down to teething problems at all new places.

You can order these under the ala carte menu, or you can get the set menu where you choose a mains, soup and free flow soft-drink. You can only choose soft drinks if you take the set menu, which we thought was a bit dumb. We wanted coffee, and coffee is $1, while soft drink is $1.50. Go figure.

ToTT Store

896 Dunearn Road 01-01A
Singapore 589472
Store Operating Hours:
Mon -Sun: 10.30am – 9.30pm
Tel: 62197077

Zenxin Organic Store and where to spend your Halloween

We were in the Pasir Panjang area today so we decided to stop by Zenxin Organic Store. They were having a sale so I went wild at the organic flour section. I’d previously tried to make my own pasta twice, and failed spectacularly twice. I blame the disasters on the flour used. Today, Zenxin was selling Organic Durum Wheat Flour at only $4/kg and Organic Wheat Flour at $3.90/kg. Bought 3 packs in total, and I would have bought more if they’d had Organic oat flour on stock too.

There was a huge pumpkin on display, in anticipation of their Halloween Party on October 30th. It’s going to be great fun because there will be cooking demonstrations, free tastings, pumpkin carving and Guess the weight of the giant pumpkin contest! I was there last year and it was great! And most likely, things are going to be on discount too. YAY! Get your chilly bins ready so you can stock up on all those organic fruits, vegetables and milk! Zenxin’s my favourite organic store because it’s the cheapest!

Speaking of Halloween celebrations, the Asian Civilizations Museum at Empress Place will be organizing a Fright Night on the 30th of October too. Free beer, ice cream, scary movie, spooky makeover plus supernatural guided tour of the museum. Museum will be open till 1 am!!

image And if that’s not enough, there’s also the Halloween of Horrors at the Night Safari. It’s going on the entire month of October, and this is if I’m not wrong their 3rd or 4th year already. The whole Night Safari is decked out in Halloween themed decorations, and they have people dressing up as spooks to come disturb you. I really like the Train of Horrors last year and I’m going again this year.

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