Thursday, September 16, 2010

"The intersection of happiness is NOW."
-Philly D, inspirational hip hop yoga instructor, Moksha Yoga Winnipeg

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Noodle King in the PATH

Another recommendation from my sister who's worked in finance district for years now and knows a lot of PATH goodies. Noodle King is under the Sheraton and tends to have a line-up that rivals McDonald's.

I've been craving simple broad noodles like this for ages. I went to Kenzo Ramen a couple of Fridays ago and wasn't that impressed.

Today I had pork wontons ($4.35) but will probably opt for spicy beef ($5.95) next time. The dish wasn't the tastiest noodles ever but the simple, clean flavours and sweating over the steaming bowl brought me back to the food of Southeast Asia for a moment... in a good way.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lawry's The Prime Rib: Singapore

It's been over six months since I travelled to Singapore so my memory is a little hazy. But I do believe the day after arriving and eating at the Newton Hawker Centre (my first hawker experience ever!), my uncle took me, his son Augustus, and Agus's girlfriend to lunch at Lawry's The Prime Rib fine dining restaurant that originated in Beverly Hills in 1938.

My uncle isn't a very wealthy man but him and his family are on the "richer" side of Singapore's population. In any case, I wouldn't have eaten here if it wasn't for his generosity and excellent food taste.

The experience starts off much like any other a la carte restaurant. You order what kind of prime rib cut you would like first from a menu. Though they are called by many different names, the options essentially range from a thick slab to a very thick slab to a very, very thick slab.

Then the experience takes a small (or maybe big) turn. A little while after everyone orders, this huge steel cart is wheeled out by a chef, decked out in the white suit yards, and slices your cut for you right in front of the table.

You're also given creamy mashed potatoes with a hefty dose of gravy, and a vegetable side option. I chose creamed spinach. I can't quite remember but I believe I finished my entire plate.

Plus we had a traditional Lawry's salad, some kind of soup, and Yorkshire pudding (pictured above). If you didn't know, turns out Yorkshire pudding isn't "pudding" at all — at least not the J-E-L-L-O kind I'm most familiar with from growing up with those Bill Cosby commercials. Yorkshire pudding is a very flaky bread that's kind of laid out like a pie. If you don't know, I love flaky pastries of all varieties so this was a welcomed surprise for me.

Lawry's was easily the most classiest lunch I've ever been served but what I love about Singaporean style (or maybe just my Singaporean family?) is that we showed up in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops with no problems or looks at all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homemade Chinese Steamed Buns my daddy! A rare treat. The bun itself is so fluffy. Look at all those air pockets. And the filling is sauteed ground pork, red onions, diced carrots, mushrooms.

My dad used to make homemade steamed buns all the time when my siblings and I were kids. Sometimes my childhood food memories taste better than the modern recreations. But this matched the memory.


Due to popular demand, I asked my father for this "secret" family recipe and revealing it for all. These are just estimates off of the top of my dad's head, hence the weird yield (17 buns?). I'm not a recipe writer and even though baking is more scientific than cooking, this is technically steaming not baking.

The Buns
8 cups of all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups of water
3 to 4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 whole eggs, beaten - if you want a whiter colour, just use egg whites

Active yeast (1 tsp; follow the instructions for proofing)
1/4 tsp of sugar in the yeast

The Li Family filling is ground pork, and diced carrots, white onions and white mushrooms, sauteed in a pan with oyster sauce, salt, pepper and a little soy sauce. But as my dad says, filling is easy. Make whatever you like. There are some classics but I'm all for experimentation. For a vegetarian substitution, he suggested diced carrots, white onions, white mushrooms, bamboo shoots and chives.

(Okay, the following instructions I know are a major fail because I'm not sure how to write it out, as I just watch my dad do it and know from experience.)

Combine wet and dry ingredients till it forms a soft dough. Let rise two hours.

Knead dough. Form into even-sized "balls" (they won't really be balls because the dough is very soft). Place filling in center of flattened ball, and pinch sides to top to fold in and close. Pat in hands to form back into a "ball." Let rise for another 10 minutes. Cook in steamer for 10 minutes if you sauteed the filling beforehand. Cook for 20 minutes for uncooked meat; and 12 minutes for a veggie filling.

And report back with how it went...