Monday, August 12, 2013

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I love crabs and I cannot resist eating them. What I love most is the Black Pepper Crab, White Pepper Crab and lastly, Chilli Crab.

This time, we explored a new seafood restaurant opened at Punggol. Enclaved in the quiet development at Punggol, the restaurant was very popular. You will need to wait quite a long while before you get your food. Master Crab Seafood Restaurant Pte Ltd has about ten outlets across Singapore.
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HY California, in short for Hide Yamamoto California, is a more casual dining option than the Hide Yamamoto at level two of Marina Bay Sands Shoppes. Located next to The Art Science Museum and on the street level, the restaurant overlooks the CBD night landscape. The beautiful lightings from Fullerton Hotel and the skyscrapers are breath-taking. No wonder Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's Commerical Rights Holder, heralded Singapore's Grand Prix as "new Jewel of the Forumla One sports crown".

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Recommended by a close friend, I took my girlfriend to a dinner at The Pelican Seafood Grill Bar. Personally, I think this was one of the best meals I had so far.

The Pelican Seafood Grill Bar was strategically located  midst One Fullerton along the Marina Bay area. You may either enjoy the al fresco style or stay indoors. At outdoors, you could enjoy the beautiful Marina Bay skyline. At indoors, you may enjoy the cool air con and the great interior decor.

I was first welcomed by a team of wonderful and friendly service staff who would not hesitate to give recommendations according to your dietary preferences. They were knowledgeable of the menu and would even share the catch of the day.

The entire dining experience cost us a total of SGD210 for the entire dining experience and it was worth every penny. 


We were first served with Seaweed Sour Dough. At first, I thought that it was salmon bread. Highlighted by the polite and enthusiastic serving staff, it was a specialty. Do spread a thick layer of butter over the bread and take a  bite. The warm bread with butter was delicious. At the beginning, you may find it weird. After many mouthfuls, you find that it is very interesting. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Roasted Tomato Soup with little grilled cheese was a wonderful soup dish. I took the first bite of the warm bread. The warm and addictive aroma of rich cheese blew me away. Each bite was heavenly. The toast was crispy in the outside and soft in the insides. The melted cheese was unforgettable. As for the soup, it was thick and sweet. The tomato was sweet and a little sour but it did not deter me from finishing the soup. A dash of pepper added the extra ommph to the soup. It was so delicious that you just want to have more. (Food Rating: 4/5)

For starters, we had a pair of quick seared scallops served with pasta beads, green beans and fresh mint. The seared scallops was heavenly! I would taste the sweetness of the scallops. On top of that, the scallops were not over cooked. It was tender, mild and delectable. As for the garnishes, the pasta beads and green beans elevated the dish to another level. Heavenly delicious starter. (Food Rating: 4/5)

Old Fashioned Crab Cakes topped with Quick Pickle Slaw was another superb starter. But first, you must finish the scallops before starting on the crab cakes. The rich slaw may bland your sensitive taste buds that you may miss tasting the sweet scallops. Back to the crab cakes, I began loving crab cakes since I last visited Boston. Their freshly prepared crab cakes were tender and moist. The slaw which tasted a little like tartar sauce was great. After eating the entire crab cakes with the pickle slaw, I still did not feel sick at all. (Food Rating: 4/5)

After tasting the Lobster Rice at Catalunya, I become a fan for lobster rice. This time, I did not fail to order the lobster rice at The Pelican. The Pelican Lobster Thermidor or Oven Baked Lobster Rice was their homecoming dish for the whole table. Assuming that the portion was going to be huge, we ordered a main dish. The lobster rice was served last. When it was served, our eyes were wide opened. The rich and strong lobster aroma was very addictive. Each of us took a half of the lobster. When we took the first bite of the lobster, both of us nodded our heads and gave a 'hmmmm'. We looked at each other and said, "What is this dish?! Why is it so delicious?!!" The wonderfully usage of ingredients or flavours awoke our taste buds. We could taste the sweetness of the lobster, then green or red peppers and melted cheese. Those who are dining at The Pelican, you must order this dish. The lobster was fantastic. As for the rice, both of us felt that it was a little overcooked and soggy. The broth was too rich that it became overwhelming. Nevertheless, this is the dish you must order for the lobsters. (Food Rating: 4.5/5)

 
 

Address: 1 Fullerton Road, #01-01, One Fullerton, Singapore 049214
Price: $$
Rating: 4/5
Stuffness Level (How full you are): 4.5/5

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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Address: 7-Eleven stores
Pricing: $
Rating: 3.5/5

When you visit the 7-Eleven in Taipei, you realised that it was a totally different environment. Compared with the 7-Eleven in Singapore and the United States, this chain outlet in Taipei was my paradise. There are so many packed food that are equally good as the ones you eat at restaurants. The quality of food and beverages are highly rated. The outlets are found within a 100m range. You will not miss it. Whenever I am in Taipei, the first thing I do is to visit the nearest outlet to buy food and beverages. I would buy my favourite foods and beverages. How I wish the wide variety of food and beverages can also be seen back home. 7-Eleven, you may want to use Taiwan's management as reference.

This time, I tried a variety of food and the total cost is less than TWD400. It is cheap and good food. Good for those who have tight budget. 



Fried Chicken Hand Roll (鸡唐扬脆皮手卷) (in white packaging) looked simple but it was delicious! The hand roll blew me away. Before eating, I had to peel off the plastic wrapping that protected the seaweed from being soggy. The crispy seaweed and the delicious fragrant rice roll was heavenly. I fell in love with the hand roll immediately. Priced at TWD25. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Salted Grilled Por Onigiri (盐烤猪肉夹心饭团) is my favourite. Every time I am in Taipei, I will head to the 7-Eleven and buy the onigiri. The crispy seaweed with fragrant rice and pork slices were perfect! How I wish that the 7-Eleven here can sell this too.


Assorted Dips - fish ball, chicken ball, beancurd, mushroom, and lobster ball (黄金鱼蛋,照烧鸡肉丸, 中华油豆腐, 石安玉子,埔里鲜香菇, 龙虾鱼丸卷) were delicious. I loved the fish balls the best. Dipped in plain stock, we poured the spicy gravy into the paper container. This was the first time I tried in Taipei despite of the fact that I have been here umpteen times. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Tomato Omelette Rice (意式完熟番茄蛋包饭) is a must to buy. There were many food items to choose but I chose this. This bento box was beckoning me to try it. Truthfully, I think I chose it very well. The generous serving of tomato rice with tomato gravy topped with an omelette. Price: TWD60.(Food Rating: 3.5/5)


Normally, one will expect the packed food - Braised Minced Meat over rice (卤肉饭) to be more inferior than the ones sold at the stalls. The Braised Minced Meat over rice (卤肉饭) was not the case. Instead, it tasted equally delicious as the ones sold at stalls in Taipei. I was appalled by the fact of the consistency in quality even though it was packed food. Price: TWD45. (Food Rating: 3/5)


These are my favourites from 7-Eleven. The milk tea (far left) was thick and tasted as if it was teh-tarik. Mr Milker was good too. The Latte was good too. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)
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According to Formosa Chang, the history of the famous Taiwanese traditional cuisine - Braised Minced Pork (魯肉), could be traced back to the Chou Dynasty. It was recorded in a book that the braised minced pork stew with both long and short grain rice was included in the eight main dishes served to the King at every meal. Now, the dish has become a common dish for all to enjoy. 

Located near the famous wholesale commercial centre - Wufenpu (五分埔), you could find a yellow signage bearing Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張魯肉飯) stood out along Yongji Road (永吉路).

Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張魯肉飯) is famous for its traditional way of cooking braised minced meat rice (魯肉飯). In 1960, the restaurant founder, Yen-Chuan Chang started its business as a food vendor in Shuanglian Market. As the business grew, the longer Chang's beard. Due to the brisk business, Chang did not handle his unkempt bread. The business quickly expanded and now Formosa Chang has footholds in both Taiwan and Japan.

Since we were in the vicinity, who can resist not dining at the restaurant?

The Braised Minced Pork Rice (卤肉饭) at Formosa Chang served very different from the other stalls. Instead of using minced pork, the restaurant used pork strips. The rice mix was savoury and delicious. You could see the individual pork strips that were savoury. Top quality rice was used that had the pearly-white colour, sweet aftertaste and firm texture. I enjoyed every grain of the steamed rice. As for the braised minced meat or pork, I expected better as it tasted quite normal. I wonder if it was my fussy taste buds that I was unable to taste its fragrance. But you'll be the judge. At TWD33 (SGD1.45), you could get a small bowl of the braised minced meat rice. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Shredded Chicken Rice (鸡肉饭), priced at TWD33, was tasted slightly different from the usual braised minced meat rice. It was lighter in taste and more palatable than the latter. The rice was extremely fragrant and you just could not stop eating. Unlike the braised minced pork rice, this rice dish used a lighter sauce. (Food Rating: 3/5)

There was a nice fragrance from the Braised Pork Trotters (蹄膀). The pork trotter was lean and were very suitable for health-conscious women like me. The sauce was equally good but it become stronger when you chewed the meat longer. This was the first time that I am actually enjoying pork trotters. (Food Rating: 3/5)

After trying the Chicken Cutlet from Shilin night market, I expected the Deep Fried Pork Cutlet (唐山排骨) to be equally big and thick. Instead, the pork cutlet, at TWD65 (SGD2.90), was thin and small in size. Despite of its small size, the cutlet has a nice fragrance.  The marinade penetrated the thin cuts of meat very well. The seasoning tasted fantastic. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Braised Eggs (卤蛋) looked simple but it had a nice aroma. The egg tasted best when eaten with rice. The rich aromatic sauce complemented the rice so well that it was palatable. Usually, when you order a serving of braised minced pork rice, it would come with a hard boiled egg. The egg cost TWD13 (SGD0.60). (Food Rating: 2.5/5)


Believe me or not, the  Beancurd with sauce (卤豆腐) was delightful. The beancurd had a crispy crust and was silken soft inside. The braised sauce drizzled on the beancurd were superbly delicious. It was a little sweet and savoury at the same time. I think this dish is definitely worth trying. The plate of beancurd cost TWD24 (SGD1). (Food Rating: 3/5)
 
Special A Spinach (水耕A菜) was recommended by one of the staff who took down my order. I was told that it was delicious and should order it. Apparently, the vegetables did taste nice. It was light and simple. They were blanched perfectly - neither too raw nor overcooked. The texture was just nice and the sauce was delish. This vegetable dish cost TWD45 (SGD2).(Food Rating: 2.5/5)


Plum Juice (梅汤) was a little bitter when you drank it for the first time. After numerous sips, you will love it. It has a tint of herbal taste in the plum juice. This drink cost TWD30 (SGD1.30). (Food Rating: 3/5)
 
 
 
Address: 533, Yǒngjí Rd, Nangang District, Taipei City, Taiwan 115 (台北永吉路 533号)
Pricing: $
Rating: 3/5
Stuffness Level (How full you are): 4/5

Saturday, August 10, 2013

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Address: No. 229, Tingzhou Road, Section 3, Taipei City, Taiwan 100 (台北市中正區汀州路三段229號)

Pricing: $
Rating: 3/5

After reading comments and reviews from people in one of the popular forum portals in Taipei, I decided to give the cold noodle stall (我家涼麵) a try. The noodle stall is located near Gongguan station where it is just minutes away. The stall was rather simple. You may miss it if you were searching for brightly lit signage.


When the Zha Jiang Cold Noodles (炸酱凉面) was served, I could smell the nice aroma of white sesame sauce. The ingredients were generous. This one dish is great for two persons. Priced at TWD75 (SGD3), the noodles were chewy and gave a very nice texture. As for the sauce, it was delicious. The cold cucumber strips added more crunch to the dish. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Special Shredded Chicken with Cold Noodles(特制鸡丝凉面)was served with similar ingredients. However, the sauce was different. Priced at TWD85, it was lighter and more palatable. I prefer this dish to the above zha jiang cold noodles. The perfect combination of shredded chicken, cucumber, sauce and cold noodles were superb. (Food Rating: 3/5)
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I was searching for recommendations of good foods for my next trip to Taipei. Then, I found out about this pancake stall. This stall located near the Gongguan (公馆) station at National Taiwan University (台大). 
 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

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We stumbled upon Yangtang restaurant while walking around Hefang Street. It was a restaurant selling a variety of lamb dishes from dumplings to noodles, etc. I was overwhelmed with too much lamb meat. Having three lamb dishes, I have reached my maximum threshold. But the dishes were rather delicious.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

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Address: Marina Bay Sands Hotel, 1 Bayfront Avenue, L1-05, Tower 2 Hotel Lobby
Pricing: $$$$
Rating: 3.5/5
Service Rating: 4/5
URL:  http://www.jinshan.com.sg/index.html

Here we're at Jin Shan restaurant again. This time, we were here to celebrate my MIL's birthday. We ordered a Longevity dinner menu (福禄寿喜宴). I like the nice decor in the private dining room. It was cosy and posh. The hanging chandelier was pretty that the guests kept praising of the nice ambience.





Longevity Birthday Buns (蟠桃献寿-金山楼大寿桃) were served first. At first, we were surprised that it was a huge longevity bun until it was lifted. Once it was removed, there were many smaller peach buns. All made from flour with lotus seed filing, the buns were distributed around the table. I loved the buns. The light pink bun was soft and sweet and filled with not-too-sweet filling. It was fantastic. (Food Rating: 3/5)


Double-boiled Superior Shark's Fin with Shark Cartilage Soup (石锅鲍翅-鲨鱼骨汤鲍翅) was served next. The rich cartilage soup was rumoured to have nutritional value related to beauty. The rich collagen in the broth and shark's fins were boiled into the hot stone pot. It was rather difficult to drink the soup as the soup was sizzling hot. I had to transfer the soup into a bowl before I could start drinking. (Food Rating: 4/5)

Roasted Golden Whole Suckling Pig (沙皮乳猪-当红片皮乳猪) was superb. When I took bite on the roasted pork skin, I could hear the crackling sound coming from my mouth. How do we eat this? I took a piece of flat steamed bun, placed the roasted pork skin, spread the sweet sauce, add a piece of spring onion and then fold it into half. The sweet sauce, the steamed bun and roasted pork skin was a perfect combination. I kept praising this dish since I took the first bite. (Food Rating: 4/5)


Braised Whole Mexican Fresh Abalone (6 Head) with Seasonal Vegetables (蚝汁鲜鲍-墨西哥六头鲍) looked a little sparse on the big plate. This dish was normal. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Lobster served in two ways (龙马精神-龙虾双味): Fried Lobster with Salted Egg Yolk (金沙龙虾)   Sauteed Minced Lobster with Chestnut (马蹄龙虾松) were one of the best dishes I had at Jin Shan. Amongst the two lobster dishes, the Sauteed Minced Lobster with Chestnut was the best. The lobster meat was perfectly cooked and not tough. The carrot and water chestnut bits added the crunchiness in the dish. As for the Fried Lobster with Salted Egg Yolk, it was nice. The salted egg yolk with the sweet lobster meat was a great blend. Perhaps that it was deep fried, I did not enjoy it as much as the former. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

Crispy Peking Duck (脆皮烤鸭) was another good dish. Popular for its crispy duck, the dish was served with the crispy duck skin and sweet sauce with spring onion sticks, wrapped with a thin slice of crepe. The savoury and sweet taste of the dish was very uplifting. You can just eat it on its own. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Stir-Fried Minced Duck Meat (鸭肉松) was prepared from the remains of the peking duck. The restaurant cut duck meat into smaller pictures and then stir-fried. Topped with pine nuts, the dish was added with the extra crunch. On the overall, the meat tasted good with white rice. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Homemade Mashed Beancurd with Dried Scallop in Brown Sauce (X府安康  干贝荷花豆腐) ... When I think of it, the mashed beancurd had a unique taste. It was very different from the ones we had with from Mr Bean or Jollibean. The vegetables were well prepared as it was crunchy, yet not raw. The dried scallop bits added savoury to the dish. I liked the dish in general. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Steamed Sliced Garoupa with Ham and Mushroom (玉树红斑) was a rather salty and overwhelming dish. Perhaps it was more a Chinese cuisine and does not suit my Singaporean taste buds. The preserved ham was very salty. It made the entire dish salty. However the sliced Garoupa (fish) was very nicely cooked. (Food Rating: 2/5)

This was the second last dish for the entire dinner banquet. By then, I was too full and could not take another bite of food. However, when the Stewed Long Life Noodles with Black Truffle (黑松长寿面) was served, I could not stop eating. The noodles cooked in al dente style with  black truffle was simply delightful. By the time I finished the bowl of noodles, I could see my tummy sticking out as if I were a pregnant lady. (Food Rating: 3/5)

I always dislike the taste of almond cream. To me, it has that synthetic smell and taste.  I was very skeptical when the dessert Double-Boiled Bird's Nest with Lily bulk and Almond Cream (百合杏汁燕窝) was served in a coconut. Interestingly, the coconut and the almond cream, when mixed, tasted so well. The almond cream was not longer overpowering and the coconut meat added the sweetness to the entire dessert. Of course, not forgetting the bird's nest, the entire combination was SUPERB! It is unforgettable! (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

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Address: No. 128, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, 2nd Floor, Da'an District, Taipei 106
Pricing: $$
Rating: 2.5/5
Nearest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua

Located along Taipei's Zhongxiao Dunhua shopping belt, you will not resist the Barbie Cafe. Licensed by toy giant Mattel, the cafe is the first official Barbie-theme restaurant in Taipei. It is indeed a destination for girls and ladies around the world.

When I stumbled upon the cafe during my last trip to Taipei, I was ecstatic. All the vibes in my body tell me that I should try the cafe. The cafe opens at 11.30am. However, we arrived half an hour earlier. So, we sat outside the cafe and waited patiently. When the cafe opened, we were the third group to have a table. There were many mother-daughter groups and girlfriend groups. Customers must spend at least TWD300 and the maximum number of hours to dine-in is 1.5 hours. It is a nice ambience with beautiful pink fittings. The chairs have nice tutu skirtings. Bear in mind that your boyfriend, husband or any male friends may feel awkward to dine in.







Hazelnut Tiramisu (榛果提拉) was nice, however, it tasted more hazelnut than coffee. Maybe that is why it is named as hazelnut tiramisu. The creme was freshly prepared. For tiramisu, people expects the dessert to have the dough thoroughly soaked with coffee. It was a sweet dessert for all to eat. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Chocolate Brulee (巧克力布雷) was extremely therapeutic. The rich chocolate tasted very good. The soft cake and chocolate creme inside the dessert could not stop me from finishing the dessert. The beautiful and elegant decoration made the dessert attractive. (Food Rating: 3/5)

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Asparagus Mushroom Risotto (蘆筍也鼓松露燴飯) was delicious. The cream sauce was very great and I enjoyed the dish very much. The creamy sauce, combined with fresh mushroom and delicious pearly rice, was superb and delicious. There were times when you eat pasta carbonara (cream sauce) and you feel sick after eating a few mouthfuls. However, this creamy dish does not. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Philadelphia Filet Steak Salad (费城牛排沙拉) was wonderful prepared. The filet steak was neither too raw nor overcooked. The meat was tender and flavourful. The spinach sauce was refreshing. The meat, topped with the green sauce, tasted very refreshing. The perfect combination added the 'oomph' to the entire dish. A perfect combination indeed. (Food rating: 3/5)


Honey Fish Fillet (蜂蜜鱼排) served with salmon fillet. As I do not particularly like salmon, the fillet was nicely cooked. The texture of the fish was not overcooked. However, there was a slight fishy taste. The toasted baguette topped with cold fruit salad was interesting too. However, the bread seemed to be over-toasted. It tasted like biscuit. On the overall, the toast bread with fruit salad was not complementary at all. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

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