Monday, February 23, 2009

Lai Huat: Addictive Belachan!

My girlfriend's mom said she wanted to bring me to this place for belachan fish so off we went for dinner!

Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant is located along Tyrwhitt Road and has another outlet near Kong Hwa Pri School. It had been around for a long time already (my girlfriend's mom had been eating it as a kid!) and was famous for their Belacan Fried Pomfret. We were rather early that night so didn't have to wait for a long serving time.

Fried KangKong ($4.00)
Mixed Tofu ($6.00)

Cze Char regulars that were nicely done. What stood out were actually the low prices they charged. The tofu were not stingy with prawns, squids and pork slices while I helped myself to the large plate of vegetables.

Fried Pomfret with Belacan ($28.00)

Star of the meal! I could already smell the wonderful aroma of belacan when it was served. It had a crunchy texture and a sweet and salty flavour that was definitely appetising. The spiceness was good enough for me, leaving you a fiery aftertaste but not enough to burn your lips.

The fish despite its crispy skin, had surprisingly tender white meat. Don't expect it to be as smooth as steamed, but I'm glad that it wasn't the rough and grainy texture I was expecting from a fried fish. Maybe It was the light lunch I had, but I managed to down 3 bowls of rice with the addictive belachan!

Total bill for 3 was about $44, including 2 canned drinks and 6 bowls of rice. Prices were relatively cheap while the quantity was enough to satify a very hungry man. I shall be back next time to try out their other Cze Char dishes!
Monday, February 16, 2009

Saltwater: A Valentine Affair!

Ahhh.. Valentine's Day, when prices of roses skyrocketed, streets are full of lovebirds and restaurants are extremely hard to book. I planned to have this year's dinner at the Prima Revolving Restaurant, but was told there were no window seats avaiable. In need of a contingency plan, I found Saltwater @ Changi Village Hotel.

Saltwater is a buffet restaurant but at night with dimmed lights and serenading music, the place was rather romantic for an intimate dinner.

I took a sneak peak at the buffet and concluded that the spread was relatively little compared to other buffets, but they had items that would keep me happy like fresh sashimi, sambal mussels, chilli crabs and a poolside roast counter that served grilled fish and steak.

Complimentary Champagne
Love Me Tender, Roasted Duck with Hoisin Dressing

As I had pre-ordered the valentines couple set, we were served rather quickly and the waitress asked us for our choice of main course. The champagne was a pleasent surprise while the appetising duck meat was warm and crispy, served with garden veggie and cranberries.

Endless Love, Chilean Spicy Seafood Soup

Apologies for the bad shot as my camera was unable to focus on the watery surface, which I found the soup to be of a letdown with bits of squids and left a not too welcoming sour and spicy aftertaste.

You Light Up My Life, Rack of Lamb with Ratatouille
Only You, Jumbo Prawn with Spicy Mash Potato

I was delighted with my rack of lamb which was flavourfully coated with nuts and chinese five-spiced pepper. Effort was barely needed to cut the tender piece that had a good proportion of fats and lean meat. I finally had the chance to try out what made the connoisseur swoon in the cartoon movie! It didnt give me the same effect but was pretty good nonetheless with eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes stacked skillfully.

My girlfriend had the jumbo prawn which was fresh and succulent, going well with a fusion of XO sauce. The mash potato was interesting with chopped chilli and dried shrimps in it.

Power of Love, Panna Cotta Mango Crumble

I'm not an expert on panna cotta, but this one grew on me! The lightly flavoured custard had toppings of mango jelly and sweetening crumble, giving it a crunchy bite and smooth, creamy base. Yum!

The dinner concluded with a choice of coffee or tea and at a worthy price of $110+++ per couple, the set also came with a stalk of rose and chocolates for the lady. I might be back for its dinner buffet and perhaps, look out for its special at the next valentine's!
Monday, February 09, 2009

Hong Kong Part 3!

I have been back for barely 3 days and I’m missing the evertempting foodfare already. Gaining 2 kilos over 3 weeks was bad but worth the every pound! Hong Kong isn’t as celebrated as Taiwan when it comes to street snacks, but still has its fair share of curry fishballs, deep fried pork intestine and braised meat. Some were not exactly hygienic, but I guess it wouldn’t be called street snack if its squeaky clean.

Porridge with Century Egg and Lean Meat, Fried Dough Stick (~HKD30, SGD6.00)

Nothing beats a piping hot bowl of congee on a cold morning! The porridge base was cooked beforehand and reboiled with your choice of toppings upon order. Smooth and silky, together with a freshly made 油条, the generous amount was good enough to be shared by two. A great way to kickstart the day!

Minced Wagyu Beef Patty with Delhi Rice (~HKD120, SGD24.00)

People here are very into Wagyu beef in recent years and had been actively using it in many dishes, both traditional and fusion. I had this one in a certain clubhouse that was promoting Australian Wagyu. The presentation was particularly good with its choice of colours and style. Taste-wise, it was rather unique with the combination of western grill and Indian spices. The finely chopped beef was juicy and goes well with long rice and gravy. Nice!

Mixed Grill Set (~HKD40, SGD8.00)

Another production of hongkong-styled fast food. Crispy fish, jumbo sausage and grilled chicken chop on a hotplate, sizzling as I pour in the black pepper sauce. Served with corn, fries and a hearty Borsch soup, give me this anytime over Cartel pork ribs!

Salt Baked Chicken, 梅菜扣肉

Another must-visit oldie restaurant that I return year after year. The place is well-known for its chicken and stewed pork. The glimmer on the chicken skin foretells you of well-marinated and tender meat, dipped in a homemade ginger sauce. The melt-in-your-mouth pork had already been deep fried once to force out the fats, so it was not as oily and sinful as you thought so, while the preserved vegetables below absorbed the appetising dark sauce. I can down bowls of rice with these two dishes alone!

Curry Beef Brisket and Tendon Rice (~HKD22, SGD4.40)

Even the 7-11 here provides excellent choices for supper! The Maxim group has a wide range of frozen microwave food that is quick-to-prepare and dummy-proof. The rice was surprisingly fluffy and of the right texture, while the few pieces of brisket and tendon were able to remain tender after reheating, accompanied by Japanese-like curry and potato. With a packet of Vita lemon tea, satisfy your tummy at 2am!

Damn, I want to make a trip back in December already! Anybody keen to form a mini tour group with me?
Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hong Kong Part 2!

恭喜发财! 2nd week into HongKong and it’s the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Its my first time spending CNY here, the atmosphere and customs is very different from Singapore. You don’t see red containers of tarts and bak kwas and you don’t 捞鱼生. But you do give wrapped boxes of chocolates and cookies and 饮 a lot of 茶!

Frankly, it was also the first time I had steamboat for eve because my mum, as a traditional shanghainese, insisted on cooking a complete 10 dish dinner every year. This year she decided to relax abit but still prepared some special things, like de-boned chicken wings stuffed with asparagus and enoki mushrooms, and minced meat stuffed in beancurd skin. We also bought US beef slices, japanese king crab legs and a fresh fish for the broth. Furthermore, the chilly weather was perfect for a hotpot!

Claypot rice with abalone clams and frog leg (~HKD58, SGD11.60)

What about a sizzling hot claypot rice? This place was highly recommended by a local food magazine and there’s certainly a long queue as well as waiting time, since each pot was perfectly cooked upon order, giving you that wonderful aroma of freshly-cooked rice and tasty individual grains. With toppings of your choice and a simple drizzle of soy sauce, heavenly in the cold cold winter! And don't forget the crispy rice base, but not too much of it!

Triple Fatburger + Cheese + Bacon + Fried Egg (~HKD95, SGD19)

Now this was the burger that set me drooling. I admitted that 3 patties was a little too much but I just had this crazy urge to have their most expensive burger. And boy, it was huge! What’s makes this better than even Carl’s Junior was that the grounded US beef was chokeful of flavour, with juice overflowing as you sank your teeth into it. No fanciful porterhouse mushroom, no teriyaki black pepper sauce whatsoever, just a solid beef burger that made you lick your fingers clean!

Foie Gras (100 grams for HKD100, ~SGD20)

Sick of outside food? What about some gourmet homecook? Fusion of pan-fried foie gras with 豆苗, a sinful large chunk that is best eaten with a sweet sauce (I used apricot jam!). Watch the cholesterol, don’t do this everyday!

I will do one more post on HongKong as I’m coming back next Friday!