Sunday, September 21, 2014

Memoirs of Food; Under Renovations


Hello! I know I haven't been blogging for a while, but these days its all about bouncing between work and getting enough rest that I am becoming quite lazy to do anything else.

With changing lifestyle and habits, I realize I can't sit down for 2-3 hours to write my usual entries anymore. So I'm gonna change my writing style to make it less report-like (if you have been following me for some time, you will understand!) and edge towards snippet/snack-size updates, a recollection of memories on my gastro journey which by the way, has always been the purpose of the blog. This translates to more frequent updates hopefully.

And the first series to kick start with? My two Taipei trips earlier this year. A sneak peek of their awesome beef noodles!

Will be doing some minor facelift to the blog as well, getting pretty dusty eh. For (almost) daily updates, Instagram la


Taken with Nikon D7100
Monday, August 25, 2014

Shima: Teppenyaki Buffet, Rebooted

This is an invited session

One of my earliest memory (say.. 15 years ago?) of Teppanyaki in Singapore is at Shima, the Japanese restaurant rather tucked within Goodwood Park Hotel. Back then when Teppanyaki wasn't as mainstream, dining there was a real treat, visual and taste, considering its upmarket buffet pricing with chefs preparing your items upon order smack in front of you. In fact, another fond memory was that they had this air-freshner booth at the entrance where you enter to remove odour. Definitely Japanese!

Having undergone a major renovation several months ago, I was invited to try out their Weekday Teppanyaki Buffet Lunch menu ($49.90++ per pax, additional $10++ on weekends with a slightly longer menu) which had remain popular all these years. While the layout and size had definitely changed, the one-inch thick cast-iron griddles fixed on tables that were with Shima since day one remained; same idea as the Chinese to use seasoned woks for good stir-frying. They also have two connectable private dining rooms for a more intimate dining experience which honestly, unless you are there for a business meal, misses all the fun of Teppanyaki.

Salmon Sashimi, Prawn Tempura

Fresh slices, decent batter, not something I will repeat orders for though. They are after all known for Teppanyaki.

Salmon, Prawn

Cooked in their special Shima sauce, the tender fillet was nicely done with a sweet, refreshing taste. Crunchy deshelled prawns for lazy peoeple (aka myself), could pop a dozen of these easily.

Oyster (Seasonal)

Sizzling on the griddle, the plump, tasty morsels were still bursting with flavour and had the fragrance of garlic.

Chicken, Mixed Vegetables

Least exciting meat of the lot, and vegetables were a tad on the oily, salty side.

While the usual buffet served Australian tenderloins, Sous Chef Victor Yok invited us to try out the US counterparts instead. As we were half awe-ing half scrambling for cover during the steak's mandatory flaming moments, Chef Victor was making sure they weren't burnt in a calm, almost zen-ish manner. Grand master indeed.

US Tenderloin ($45 per 120g)

With many places going Wagyu, this was a good change as to concentrate on a good cut with chewy texture and robust flavour.

Garlic Rice, Off-Menu Special: Oyster Omelette ($30 per 120g)

What's teppanyaki without Teppan fried rice? Fried all the better with beef fats, it was well-oiled with a smokey fragrance. And as we joked with Chef Victor about Teppan-styled Taiwanese Oyster Omelette, he told us there is such a sscret item that people requested for, and sure it was awesome with the same plump oysters. Now you know!

You could of course ask for seconds if the first round of everything-on-the-menu didn't fill you up, but that's not likely to be the case as we realised, with the individual small portions adding up to quite a considerable amount. Just remember, don't expect fancy griddle work or spatula juggling here; Shima runs a decades-proven teppanayaki house, not a circus.

Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: 6734 6281

Special thanks to LeRoy of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D7100
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The FIJIWaterLimeTruck Pop-Up

This is an invited writeup

Note: The event has been changed to be held at Orchard Gateway on both days now

One of the biggest regret of my recent West Coast trip is that I didn't manage to catch any bites from food trucks (especially after watching the mouthwatering movie Chef). Well yes I saw a taco truck on the first night in LA, giving it a miss thinking that I have two weeks ahead to catch them, then somehow they were never in sight at San Fran/Napa/Vegas/LA again. Thankfully I might just be able to catch one without flying all the way there again as FIJI Water, in collaboration with Kerbside Gourment, is bringing in The Lime Truck as a pop-up event this Friday and Saturday.

Blue Crab & Jicama Taco, Fresh Fish Ceviche Tostada

Winner of Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race", The Lime Truck will be helm by celebrity chef Daniel Shemtob, dishing out gourmet snacks such as Braised Pork Belly Taco with Tomatillo Pico de Gallo & Sriracha, Fresh Fish Ceviche Tostada, and Blue Crab & Jicama Taco on wheels, each paired with FIJI water and with all proceeds donated to Willing Hearts, a non-­‐profit organisation for the needys.

While I'm stuck in Seletar Camp and will miss the media preview on Thursday, I might just pop down on my own to have a feel of gourmet on wheels. See you there!

Special thanks to FoodNews for the media photos and press release!
Sunday, August 03, 2014

Almost Updating, Soonish

Santa Monica Pier, California

Hola! I know I haven't updated for a month, but I was indeed a little caught up with work after the two weeks in West Coast. So here's a little teaser photo of my trip and Shima Teppanyaki will be coming right up!

Taken with Nikon D7100
Friday, July 04, 2014

Long trip ahead!

Yes I'm on the go again, this time away for two weeks with the parents. Let's see if I can write some stuff in between. IG-ing as usual! Where I am going? Well Beijing is only a transit!

Oh yeah, happy birthday to me!

Taken with HTC One
Friday, June 27, 2014

Halia at Raffles III: Communal Feasting

This is an invited session

I suppose that communal dining is a pretty Asian thing. Think casual zi char to chinese banquet dinners, dishes are placed in the middle and shared, fostering that unique type of bond by people at the table. On the other hand, western dining is pretty individualistic with its own pros and cons, though you can now enjoy the fun of western communal dining at Halia at Raffles.

The casual eatery at Raffles Hotel shouldn't need too much introduction by now with two previous write-ups, but it is constantly refreshing its menu to keep diners coming back for more. With a brand new 12-course communal dining menu at $260++ (good for 4 pax) and matching communal table mats, Chef Ciaran Armstrong is instilling elements of "sharing fun" into Asian-inspired dishes.

While the communal set includes a jug of barley, it never hurts to have their signature Chilled Halia Tea on a warm, humid day.

Cream of Mushroom Soup, Bread Selection

Thick and creamy with distinct minute pieces of mushroom, this is definitely a hearty bowl to start the meal. The accompanying assorted bread are great for soup-dipping, as well as being paired with olive oil and balsamic, and a certain curry-flavoured oil.

Goats' Cheese Mousse, Oriental Pulled Duck

Pretty garden to look at and equally tasty with dried brioche serving as base for the mix of cheese, tomatoes and honey drizzles. The duck soba was consistently good, being already introduced several times on previous visits.

House Smoked Salmon Pate, Chilli Crab Dip

Trapped in a bottle of smoke, the salmon pate was light and creamy to my liking. Nothing to complain about the other one which is an adaption of their signature Chilli Crab Pasta, perfect for lazy poeple like me who wants their crab meat without the de-shelling hassles.

Baked Kingfish Collar, Wagyu Beef "Zhajiangmian"

With Grilled Hamachi (yellowtail) Collars being pretty common in Japanese restaurants, it was the first time that I had a Kingfish version with plenty of fine meat and refreshing with orange glaze and pickled vegetables. On the other hand, while I usually like all things Wagyu, the "zhajiangmian" (which is really just plenty of vegetable peels with minced beef) wasn't that impressive on texture, but had a nice blend of sweet, savoury meat sauce with greens.

Twice-Cooked Spatchcock of Spring Chicken, 'Gunpowder' Wagyu Topside Mayura Station

Time and again I have little praises for chicken dishes, but this was different as the sous-vide effect produced juice-retaining, tender meat. The last savoury mains was an interesting creation, as the Wagyu topside is marinated to a smokey "gunpowder-like" flavour, then sous vide to break down the tough cut into something more tender. Not your usual steak definitely.

Coconut Parfait, Sticky Toffee Pudding

Moving on to the sweets, the parfait were playfully presented as ice cream popsicles, sprinkled with chocolate balls and popping candy, while the other was yet another Halia classic that could hardly go wrong with.

At about $65++ per pax, the communal dining set is actually pretty good value given the number of courses and portions of food, showcasing several Halia signatures and new creations that are potential crowd pleasers. Tired of sharing chinese stir frys? Give this a go then!

Halia at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
#01-22/23 Raffles Hotel
Tel: 9639 1148

Special thanks to Ivy & Cyndiana of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D7100
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just a Short Hiatus

Toby's Estate, my Cappuccino, E's Skinny Latte

Hola! I know I have disappeared since I promised an update two weeks ago, but I will continue the writing break till next week cos
1. Work overwhelms at times
2. My cough is acting up at night these days
and most importantly 3. The girlfriend is leaving for France next week for a 4 month job attachment and am trying to spend as much time as I can with her.

Much more active on Instagram so do add me @memoirsoffood if you wanna see what I'm sinking my teeth into.

Next week, Halia at Raffles!

Taken with HTC One