nando’s, serangoon nex

easy weeknight dinner – nando’s is always an easy-go-to post-work, both here and in london. I like the standard half chicken, the parents like the espetadas (rather impressive hanging skewer of chicken chunks), and we often get a bit of the garlic bread and hummus to share.

I love that they’ve open so close to me now – and this outlet does a roaring business without crazy lines. good, easy stuff.

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fantasia by escriba, the real look

I gave you guys a peek a couple days ago at fantasia – or what was described as more than charlie’s chocolate factory – and kept it cursory on purpose.

I didn’t want to spoil it for you if you were going – or create too much pre-judgment – but I think enough time has passed, to tell you the truth: it totally wasn’t worth it.

this photo looks almost accusatory.

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fantasia by escriba, a first look

if you’re heading to the festival this weekend, the best must-do item: chocolate shaped and colored like parma, shaved like parma, drizzled with olive oil and speckled with sea salt on melba toast (like parma).

delicious, and rather revelatory. very photographable, too.

have a good weekend!


p.s. giveaways going on!

giveaways(!), august 2014

it’s nearly the weekend! and because I’m so excited for mine (and also because I am such a nice, gracious, amazing person), I would like to make yours pretty awesome too!

so… two giveaways! follow the flowchart up there, and let me know which prize you’d like.

but there ain’t no free lunch. I need to know your deepest, darkest secret before I’ll part with either prize. if you can’t do that, well, too bad then tell me about a vegetable dish you’d most like to snuggle up to.

no restrictions, you guys. just a note that mooncakes are pretty sweet and definitely not vegetarian, and contains nuts and eggs – so please make sure you aren’t allergic to all that (I might get you to sign an indemnity form, hmm). I’ll ship anywhere!

as for the festival, I have a pair of tickets to be given away for sunday, 28th sept 2014. get more detalis here – and go have a look if you’re in town! it sounds pretty awesome, food and drinks and cookery classes and shopping – if I were back in london, these tickets wouldn’t be coming to you!

so pho, serangoon nex

okay-for-weekday vietnamese food at the ever-crowded nex mall in serangoon. it’s only tuesday – and it already feels like a long week – and this calls for quick, cheap food.

if you’re into that for tonight, this is an okay choice for dinner – it’s something different from the local food you’d usually have on a weekday night for not much more money, and the flavors are adequate. not quite a destination restaurant, however.

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2014 mooncakes from hua ting, orchard hotel

it’s mooncake season! for all you non-chinese out there – and I can’t imagine there are many of you, considering how quickly that nation is expanding – mooncakes are an annual confection that appear this time of year, to celebrate the mid-autumn festival (and its full, round moon).

traditionally, these were rounds of lotus paste surrounded by and baked brown with an outer pastry. like a meat pie, but with a sweet filling (the closest western reference being frangipane) and a sweet crust (reminiscent of fig newtons).

at most, there were nuts or salted egg yolks for interest.

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the naked finn, gillman barracks

expensive seafood at this uppity too-cool-for-school restaurant at the gilman barracks. this place – well. the food is good (let’s get it out of the way), but it’s simply cooked, it’s simply expensive, and service is pretty inadequate for the price you’re paying.

I simply don’t understand the hype – seafood is abundant in singapore, and a more-than-decent dish is more than easily found (even at your neighborhood czechar store) – it’s the sort of seafood restaurant I’d imagine in a land-locked part of the US, where seafood is both posh and inaccessible.

but I’ll give it to them that the seafood is fresh and delicious in its simplicity, but I’d hazard a guess, too, that anyone with half-decent cooking skills can churn out similar dishes.


the most economical option here would be to take their set menu (which is still pretty price-hefty) for a taster of their dishes. it starts with a simply dressed salad, and fried vermicelli noodles (simpler-ly known as fried beehoon in this part of the world) are brought to the table as accompaniment to the subsequent dishes.

and it’s good right, but a lot of it is due in part to the fresh produce they’ve got (which is admirable) as opposed to any particular skill (which is the point of visiting restaurants). not that not-overcooking seafood is not a skill (omg, triple negatives!) – but it’s a pretty basic one.

fat, plump clams in an easily-drinkable, more-ish soup that went well with the beehoon, and plainly seared scallops served in-shell with garlic. plump and sweet, those were delicious.

these were followed by grilled mozambique – read: skinny – lobsters (no photo, because it photographed terribly) that had a good charred flavor, the same of which you could smell and taste in the seared fish and baby squid. that baby squid was pretty delicious – they were chewy but tender, with none of that crisp nothingness that happens with deep-frying.

so the food was good – even if I might complain about price – but service is pretty hit-miss. the good thing was that we had chirpy waiters dishing up our food – but we had to be chased out after barely two hours of a long many-coursed dinner (such is the quirk of trendy, busy restaurants), and they refused to bring me a glass of water when I first walked in (IT’S SELF-SERVICE, PLEASE) even though there was no one else in the restaurant and the waiters were milling about.

have a look at bernie’s review on the naked finn, visit it yourself, and let me know what you think.

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hawker food, or national day 2015

happy 49th, singapore! you know they* say only bananas don’t improve with age – and really, you’re doing great.

(*they, a usefully anonymous group of people you may rely on for validation)

I may complain about this infernal heat, and I may not partake much in hawker culture – the first makes me incredibly, authentically singaporean, and the latter negates that same –

but I love you. your passport is gold, opportunities abound, and food is hearty and in good supply.

here’s to many good years ahead!


p.s. photos taken at the rather institutional changi village food market, which can almost singlehandedly uphold that widely-acknowledged wisdom that the east is where the food’s at.

p.p.s from top to bottom, barbecued satay and chicken wings, tauhu goreng (peanut sauce over fried tofu cubes, and now one of my favorite local things), nasi lemak (coconut rice with sides), chicken noodles, beef balls, and an oyster omelet.

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all things n’ice, suntec city

unfussy, but also unspectacular dishing up of local desserts at this food-court-like store by the fountain of wealth in suntec city. it’ll do in a pinch – but its rather unimpressive mien is a double-edged sword for people new to local desserts: you won’t know how bad it is much better it could be, but forming a first impression of localness in this place probably wouldn’t encourage you to eat any more.

this ain’t bashing, because this place isn’t gourmet (and it knows it), but really – it’s only good if you want something sweet and really can’t care about what you have (because if you did, you’d head to patisserie g, just barely five minutes away).

it’s a food-court-like store that looks like it morphed out the food republic just next to it – an open-air cafe lining the edge of the atrium and manned by harried staff dressed in cute, rather kitschy retro-type aprons. the name rather indicates its offering of desserts only, cheap plates/ bowls of things like grass jelly, ice jelly (a generic name for a lime-ish clear jelly), chewy tapioca balls and sweet-cooked beans on ice – all local, pretty authentic, but none really that interesting.

perhaps the best thing was the osmanthus jelly: two a serving, these were fragrant (and perhaps almost suspiciously so) tender, scallop-edged jellies with plump wolfberries.

according to me* – it doesn’t really bear coming back (it makes me wonder if the dessert store in the actual food court might do better) – its biggest recommendation is the big, airy space by the wealth fountain, and as a relative escape from the manic crowds. but its cheap, the desserts are cold, service is prompt and the space is pretty kitschy – you could certainly do much worse.

p.s. according to me was a phrase I heard this week from a rather opinionated, egoistic individual – and I’ve wanted to repeat it since just to relive that outrage I felt upon first hearing it. and where better to do it than my own blog? 🙊

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