Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Random Thoughts

Something happened at home today (it's not about DH, and I have to add that DH was very sweet and supportive about it, hereinafter referred to as THE INCIDENT).

So, I can't sleep because THE INCIDENT is bothering me.

I am not going into details about THE INCIDENT.

However, I wonder if these random thoughts I have about my life are distracting from my food posts.

I read somewhere (I think it was a published interview with another foodblogger Ivan Ng of recent runes) that readers of the food posts think that these non food-related posts are distracting and readers of my random thoughts find the food posts boring.

So, I am thinking of starting another blog, to record my thoughts on life. What do YOU think?

The other thing I recently read was an excerpt of a speech by somebody. I think this theory is not new. In essence, he advocates that, people in order to live, must first die. Basically, the trapping of life inhibits a person from living the life that he truly desires. However, if one believes that one is going to die, then all these trappings disappear, the white noise of disapproval become silent, the binds of societal conventions fall away, and one will pursue whatever their dreams may be. One will cease to be concerned about the things that DON'T MATTER, and focus on the things that DO MATTER. I think that is a good perspective to adopt.

But one thing puzzles me. If I were going to die, would I have reacted to THE INCIDENT differently? Would I have defended myself to my tormentor, would I have said all the things that I keep to myself and bite my tongue to prevent myself from saying out loud? OR, would I not be bothered about THE INCIDENT at all and be sleeping? I can't figure this one out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Godiva Chocolixir @ Vivocity #01-116

Mmmmmm... wow this Chocolixir (SGD8) really hit the spot. It's been quite a while since I had chocolate, can you believe it?

Godiva @ Vivocity @01-116 didn't seem as well-patronised as it ought to be. The blended chocolate drinks are quite pricy, SGD8, but they are so good. DH used to buy me one each time we were at Citylink (where their other outlet was), but it's been quite a while since we ventured to town together.

They seem to have expanded their list of drinks, last time it was white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate with coffee. Now, the dark chocolate drink alone had 3 versions - raspberry, mint or dark chocolate decadence.

I omitted the whipped cream, but this was seriously good. Thick and not too sweet, with good quality chocolate and a hint of bitterness from the cocao content.

The Soup Spoon @ Raffles Link

The Soup Spoon serves soup, salads and sandwiches and has 2 branches Raffles Place mrt station and Raffles City Shopping Centre.

I had to run to town to get some errands done, so I ended up getting a quick lunch at the Soup Spoon. I had the grande mushroom veloute (SGD6.70) which was much too large, I should have just gone for the regular portion. This was quite good, thick and chockful of mushrooms. I find the soups here a little too sweet though. Everything I have tried - clam chowder, mushroom soup and tomato basil seemed to have a tinge too much sugar. I think I like the tomato basil soup best though. It was quite tangy, and I liked that.
The reason why I was in town was cos I needed to develop baby photos, I have 3 CDs worth of photos yet undeveloped, so I headed off to my usual photo developer. You know how much it costs to develop digital photos at Harbourfront? 50 cents each! what a serious ripoff! The cheapest I have seen, 22 cents at Parkway, but my friend, Vincent at Superior Photo Laboratory (@ B1-01 Pearl's Centre 100 Eu TOng Sen Street, Tel: 65570772) he charges me 15 cents! Wow, that is serious savings! And he is so nice. He is very obliging, he remembers I like my photos matt, not glossy, and if I cannot pick up my photos, he offers to deliver them to my place. If you guys go there, mention this blog, Zen, the Chocolate Reindeer, and he will be very nice to you as well!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Megumi Japanese Restaurant

In all my years of dating DH whilst he lived in the East (8 years) and the years that we've been married and lived in the East (almost 3 years), we've never eaten at this place. So, when Chat Masala was full this evening, DH and I ended up walking over to Megumi for a quick dinner.

The signature megumi maki (SGD12) was ordinary california maki (crab stick, avocado) coated with seaweed and with tobikko sprinkled on top.

DH's ramen (SGD15.80) was like prawn noodles from beach road. The ramen tasted like the yellow noodles, thick and soft, and not at all like the ramen we've eaten in Japan, or even say Marutama's. The soup stock tasted like it had a hearty dose of MSG.

I didn't take any photos of my chirashi (sashimi on sushi rice, SGD16.80), but the fish was sliced so thin, I could see through it.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.

As we left, I noticed that they had a white board with the day's offerings. Maybe I should have had something from that menu instead?


After that unsatisfying meal, I went home, put Baby to bed, and then made dessert.

Shiratama azuki (glutinous rice balls, with red beans) and macha ice cream from Haagen Daaz. Mmm, lovely.

Lunch at home

I made lunch on saturday.

I thought I would do pasta, my simple no-fail fallback, but DH decided he wanted philly cheesesteak sandwich. Ok. I try.

Starter of grilled portobello mushrooms with mozzarello and cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes.

This is the sandwhich... I couldn't get proper buns so I used ciabatta. Onions, and mushrooms, and sliced beef, topped with melted cheese.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marutama Ramen @ Central Mall, #03-90

Finally came down to check out Marutama Ramen (Central Mall, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-90, Tel: 6534-8090) as this place has caused great excitement in the foodblogging community.

I must say, I can't have eaten any good ramen in recent history, because there is no memory of any ramen-eating experience which has evoked any particular emotion or craving. I mean, let's be frank, it just tastes like instant noodles right? There isn't much difference between a well-cooked myojo mee and a mediocre ramen... and the ingredients: egg, char siew, spring onion... the same stuff go on my myojo too.

But I decided to give ramen a chance.

DH is into Japanese anime at the moment, and he loves this series about a boy who learns to be a ninja. The male protagonist, Naruto, is a conflicted character who vacillates between good and evil... and his favourite food? Ramen. So, it can't be that ramen doesn't taste good, it's just that I haven't tasted good ramen.
Marutama ramen uses chicken stock for its broth instead of the more ubiquitous tonkotsu (pork soft bones), miso (soy bean paste) or shoyu (soy sauce). I chose the signature marutama ramen (SGD 12) (it comes with 1 slice of cha shyu) and then added an order of cha shyu (SGD4 for 4 slices) and an egg (SGD 1).
Verdict: I liked the ramen, they were springy and chewy and tasty. The cha shyu was sublime. It was sliced so thin, and it was still so flavourful and it literally melted in my mouth. Very good. The egg was cold when it arrived but was revived by the hot soup. The centre of the yolk was still soft and was neither overcooked nor undercooked. The chicken-based broth tasted very strongly of chicken. I think I would still lean towards tonkotsu, as to me it tastes sweeter and more robust. The fried garlic chips and toasted sesame seeds on each table added a fragrance to to the ramen, and was a nice touch.
3 slices and half an egg (I shared the additional orders with my friend) didn't last very long so I was eating plain noodles for the rest of the meal. Towards the end I got a bit bored eating the ramen only, but I was still hungry. I could have added another portion of ramen to my broth for only SGD 1 (it's an option called Kaedama) but no thanks.
Dessert next. I wanted shiratama azuki and thought I could get them at Azabu Sabo, a Hokkaido-based ice cream chain. But turns out, there were a mere ice-cream stand, with no dessert menu or sit down area.
So we walked around and ended up at Paisley & Cream Cafe (#01-09 same place). It was such a pretty and inviting cafe. Very girly.
My dear friend and I shared a cheesecake with strawberries (SGD6). It was nice, dense and not too sweet. It was the no-bake type which I've made before. It's not too difficult. maybe I should try sometime soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thank You

Thank you, my kind friends.

Without your words of encouragement, I would have drowned in an abyss of self-doubt and self-recrimination.


Last night, DH and I had a terrible fight.

Maybe this is typical of other families? I was complaining about something, he wasn't interested, and refused to look at me whilst he played on the computer (Maybe other husbands channel surf, read the papers, whatever whatever?). I was talking about something which really bothered me and I was hurt when he did that. I started crying, he started shutting me out even more.

Why is it like that? When did it all change? He used to be able to talk to me for hours and hours... Lunch dates dragged to dinner, to supper because we had so much to talk about and so much to share. He used to be so sensitive to my feelings, so protective when others hurt me. I thought I chose the right person.

Now he is nonchalant, hurtful and disinterested. He doesn't care if I am hurt, or if I cry.

On the other hand, I am so much more affected by his actions than I was pre-marriage. The things I do, the things I buy, are all for his comfort (or Baby's). His breakfast cereal, his socks, the ice cream he likes. It seems like my priorities have shifted entirely to put him and the family first, and in return, he now treats me with less respect.

Why does marriage change a man?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Global Kitchen @ Pan Pacific Hotel

Global Kitchen is a recently refurbished restaurant in Pan Pacific Hotel, and is quite haute cuisine. It's got blue glass panelling and lots of white cushions, and honestly doesn't look very comfortable. I prefer warm colours in restaurants myself.

Nevertheless, DH and I came by for dinner with baby one day.

DH had the set and I ordered off the ala carte menu.

This was a bit misleading. The menu said "beefsteak carpaccio"... turns out that they were tomato slices. Beefsteak tomatoes, not beefsteak. I didn't question the staff, but I still feel a little cheated.

DH's appetiser. It was called duo of foie gras. and it was very good. The foie gras had a lovely caramelised exterior and a soft yielding centre. It was served with a slice of fig and that complemented the foie gras very well. The little shot glass contained a foie gras custard, warm and slightly sweet, it was fantastic.

Consomme of something. in a shotglass. It looked very pretty but I cannot remember how it tasted.
My main of squid ink pasta with mushrooms. It was too salty.

DH's tenderloin was perfect. It was tender and delicious and the black truffles were great, so fragrant. It was very artistically plated too.

We had a dessert, and a cheese platter. I think the cheese platter was complimentary. So sweet of the waiter. I made a remark about how I liked blue cheese, and he came out with a plate of cheeses for me to try.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Inagiku Japanese Restaurant @ Raffles City Shopping Centre (again!)

As you would know, Inagiku is an all-time favourite of DH and I. We like to sit at the sushi counter and banter with the chefs there. Chef Watanabe is strong and silent and reserved and doesn't say much. Edmund and Anson are chirpy and jovial and love poking fun at each other.

We started with the Hana sushi sashimi set to share (SGD165). You get 3 thick juicy slices each of 5 types of sashimi (toro, salmon, hotate, snapper or yellowtail, and something else and a crab claw), and also several different types of sushi (uni, ikura, botan ebi, toro, akagai...). What a visual and gastronomic feast.

This is anago rice balls, compliments of the chef. That's the good thing about sitting at the counter. The chefs like to serve free things and tidbits to you. I think I am beginning to prefer anago to unagi.

DH and I are in love with botan ebi at the moment. Not to be confused with Ama ebi, which are small sweet prawns. Botan ebi is a big fat prawn with a giant head, which looks a bit like lobster claws. It is sweet and juicy. The heads can also be battered and fried into a crisp, and eaten with a little lemon and salt.

Those guys are so funny. They saw me taking photos of the dishes as they came right and considerately arranged the plates nicely for me. Then once I started eating, I stopped taking photos of the subsequent dishes... and Edmund comes up to me and says: "sorry sorry, this maguro salad not well done, not very pretty... " I thought he was being modest and told him that it was very good... and then Edmund says: "then, then, why never take photo?"
-_ -

Sushi Tei @ Vivocity

Whenever I feel like having a huge meal, I tend to lean towards Japanese, as I have the notion that it is lighter and therefore healthier to binge on.

I never really had a chance to go to the various branches of Sushi Tei often, since they are not as ubiquitous as say, Sakae Sushi. I had thought that Sushi Tei would be similar to Sakae Sushi - conveyor belt sushi restaurant, how good can it be right? wrong!

Sushi Tei's selection is quite varied and unique and they serve all these rice rolls like caterpillar, dragon and phoenix rolls. Quite yummy and interesting.

Chawanmushi with ikura. Not bad, and pretty generous with the ikura.

Pretty things, and not too expensive. Tastewise, the orange tobbiko was the nicest.

Ooh, all for me, this grilled salmon cheek! Yummy. I would have preferred yellowtail, but they didn't have it.

This is supposedly aburi toro, my most favouritest food in the world. Well, it was probably fatty maguro, rather than toro, since it was only SGd4 a pop. So it had the smokey seared taste of aburi, but fell short of the oily, fatty distinctive taste of good toro.

Wahiro @ Katong Mall

This is a little non-descript corner shop in quiet Katong Mall, Wahiro. It is run by a Japanese chef, who used to head restaurant Suntory, so it's supposed to be pretty good.

This is tempura anago, sea eel (as opposed to unagi, river eel, which is less sweet and fat, I understand). This was good. Light tempura batter, served hot and crispy.

I can't say I liked the sashimi. I don't think it was well sliced. Both times I had sashimi at this place, the guy served block-like pieces (imagine mahjong tiles, but not as fat). I don't think sashimi should be served like that. maybe the guy can't get good big pieces of fish.

This is the Wahiro set. cost about SGD35. I think there were a few more items that were served earlier like chawanmushi.

All in all, not too bad, but I prefer Inagiku.

Man Fu Yuan @ Intercontinental Hotel

Man Fu Yuan serves modern Cantonese cuisine. At about 8 pm, they were almost full, but we were ushered to a table immediately. I liked this place because it wasn't noisy like some Chinese restaurants are, and the dishes were all excellent. Well, although I've had the Intercontinental dining privileges card for close to a year now, I seldom come over here to eat. The lack of parking and congestion just gets to DH and I.

However, we came over for a late dinner, and realised that the food here is really quite good. It's a Hong Kong chef, so the flavours are more subtle, more delicate and very very nice.

Shark cartilage soup with fish maw (SGD20). This was seriously good stuff. Sufficiently gummy, with the most unctiously slippery piece of fish maw one can imagine. Best of the 3 shark cartilage soups I have had in recent weeks. I want to eat this again! DH ordered this for me, we are still on a the lookout for good shark bone / shark cartilage soup, and this one is right at the top of the list. I love the gummilicious taste of slippery fish maw. I don't like the fried ones at all. Those taste like.. uhm, tau pok.

Claypot braised beancurd with prawn and shimeiju mushrooms. Also excellent. The prawns were sweet and the tofu was smooth and wobbly. The gravy was savoury with a little hint of spiciness.I ordered the steamed sea perch with Chinese rice wine SGD 14 per portion, as I thought it was healthier.
But I preferred DH's baked sea perch with miso and garlic cream, also SGD14.

This is Japanese somen (thin rice noodles, like mian xian but is not as salty) with crab meat. It was a light and savoury dish. Baby really likes this!

THIS WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE MEAL. DH and I loved this so much, we wished we hadn't stuffed ourselves so much earlier so that we could have eaten 2 portions of this delicious orh nee (yam paste) with sweet gingko nuts and... not coconut cream, but almond cream! It was light and sweet and healthy! LOVE THIS.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Apologies for the prolonged absence. No chance to blog, as work responsibilities and motherhood duties take precedence.


The myriad problems of a working mother. Juggling work, family and blogging sure ain't easy.