happy national day, singapore

you awe me year after year – and may you stay beautiful, strong and resilient.

x

I had the opportunity to attend the first preview parade for 2016 (an excellent initiative on our government’s part to ensure more people get to watch the show every year), our first at the national stadium in years. it was excellent, as always, but I do wish we could have retained the mobile column and the red lion segment.

the celebratory song is excellent this year too – catchy and upbeat, and it gets you going. happy national day, everyone!

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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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a cake consultation: shawn, part 3

here’s an update – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, have a look at part one and two – photos from a (supposedly) satisfied customer. that cake almost looks like the rehearsal product – and really, I’m so impressed he managed to arrange those pink dragées in a discernible problem. and furoshiki, too!, though that cake wrapping was likely more for subterfuge than aesthetic reasons.

now, anyone up for a cakesultation? I’ll even throw in a couple of amateur graphics (witness that gorgeous cake box)!

a cake consultation: shawn, part 2

this is part zwei of my cakesultation: read part one here!

after we got the batter in, there was a discernible escalation in excitement on his part – I got the impression that the baking session had only just started at that point for him – and out came the bottles of whiskey. I’m no drinker, and it was still rather early morning, but we had an taste-smelling: how else to see what would go with the other components?

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a cake consultation: shawn, part 1

this, you guys, is something I’m really excited to share with you. I did my first cakesultation – which really is a fancy way of saying I helped a friend with his vision for a special cake – meant for his girlfriend’s (hi gwen!) birthday – and it couldn’t have been more fun.

shawn’s a close friend – I’m not going to say more about this in fear of unnecessarily building his substantial ego – and I was pretty stoked when he asked for cake-ing help. it eventually evolved into something pretty awesome: drawing diagrams of cake is cool, you gotta admit. he’s rather clueless about baking – probably why I was enlisted – and the only things I had to go on were chocolate-and-whiskey, no berries or fruit, and three layers. let’s start – it’s a long storytelling!

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teochew city seafood restaurant, town












(surprisingly) rather good cantonese-teochew-chinese food in the slightly-abandoned centrepoint shopping mall. this isn’t a real review, since I was here for my partner’s sister’s wedding dinner – so this is more useful as a guide to a chinese wedding dinner (if you’re new to this sort of thing), if you’re considering venues for your own celebration dinner, and as a reference to the skills of the kitchen.

they fared really well, actually. reasonably priced, generous portions of food that we couldn’t finish, and really rather impressive cooking – especially at such volumes.

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hua ting restaurant, town









good poon choi and service at this old establishment in the even older orchard hotel. this was our traditional dinner out on the first night of chinese new year, and it’s pretty much become standard practice for the meal to revolve around poon choi – essentially a basin of dried seafood and meat in a savoury sauce.

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