Chong Qing Grilled Fish

Special shoutout to all spicy food lovers, especially those with a penchant for Sichuan cuisine. I’ve been to CQGF for about 6 – 7 times and I am proud to say that they do not disappoint.

You choose your fish right at the start: Sea Bass, Carp, Snapper, Patin Fish, and Marble Goby. We chose the sea bass.

Next up would be the soup bases:

Spicy Fragrant (一品香辣)

Fermented Black Bean (干香豆豉)

Fresh Chillies (辣爽鲜椒)

Hot & Sour (黄金酸辣)

Mushroom Herbs (十里菌香)

Pickled Cabbage (酸菜香烤)

Spicy Numbing (川味麻辣)

We chose the ‘Spicy Fragrant’ with ‘Mild Spice’.

So this beauty of a sea bass was grilled over a charcoal fire first before being submerged in a fiery broth. Tender, white flesh, along with its slightly charred skin gives a real smokiness. On top of this, you can choose your own side dishes to add INTO the broth e.g. luncheon meat, enoki mushrooms, pork belly, beancurd skin etc. it’s slightly pricey but it is value for money.

Sea Bass with the Spicy & Fragrant Broth (Low Spice)

Next up, the fried mantou with condensed milk as a dipping sauce. The fluffiness of the fried mantou paired with the sweetness of the condensed milk brings you to sugar paradise. However, for health purposes, eat this once every few months.

Fried Mantou with Condensed Milk

Spicy food fanatics would love a dish of 辣子鸡. Marinated chicken pieces are first deep fried and then stir-fried with Sichuan chilli peppers, peppercorns, garlic, and ginger. Wash it down (again) with a glass of ice-cold beer but beware of the aftermath though because it’ll hurt. It could be a little dry so having fluids/soup on hand will be better.

辣子鸡

Chong Qing Grilled Fish has three branches in Singapore: Chinatown, Bugis, and Serangoon. The one I went to is at Bugis, on Liang Seah Street. A note to those heading there: do go early to queue and make sure your friends come on time as they will allow the party to go in only when everyone is present. Would I recommend it? Definitely.

Address:

1 Liang Seah Street, #01-05/06 (Bugis)

18 Mosque Street, #01-01 (Chinatown)

2 Maju Ave (Serangoon)

Nearest MRT:

Bugis MRT (EW12/DT14)

Chinatown MRT (NE4/DT19)

Serangoon MRT (NE12/CC13)

Opening Hours:

12:00PM – 1:30AM (Mon – Sun) – Bugis branch

12:00PM – 1:30AM (Mon – Sun) – Chinatown branch

12:00PM – 2:00AM (Mon – Sun) – Serangoon branch

Yakiniku Ohji – Japanese Charcoal BBQ

On the first floor of 321 Clementi sits a decent-sized restaurant specializing in Japanese BBQ. It was a working day lunch but thankfully the crowd was minimal.

BBQ buffets start at $19.80++ for a basic with 36 items, $29.80++ for 46 items, and $42.80++ for a whopping 62 items (high-quality too!). Do take note that there is an additional $2.50+ per person for the charcoal stove on the table.

We are big eaters so we went for second choice buffet and went straight for the meats! Classic favourites include sirloin, pork belly, marinated meat, US galbi, and many more.

And of course, we’re omnivores so there had to be vegetables. Leeks, onions, and mushrooms were a big hit with us. Having the charcoal stove was a big bonus as it gave the food a smokey aroma.

Grilling leeks over a charcoal fire makes them extra tasty because of the smokiness from the charcoal as well as the natural sweetness of the leeks itself.

It’s not cheap, but the food made up for it. Meat overdose, yes. But you’ll get your vegetables too!

Address:

321 Clementi Ave 3, #01-01

Singapore 129905

Nearest MRT:

Clementi MRT (EW23)

Opening Hours:

11:30AM – 11:00PM (Mon – Sun)

Kipos Gourmet

Special shoutout to: Chef Gan, Brian, and Daryl
(Thank you very much Chef Gan for the meal, Brian for inviting, and Daryl for hosting me despite being so busy! Thank you and I hope to be back soon!)

Kipos Collective (@kiposcollective) promotes a healthy lifestyle with their meal bowls. On top of a healthy and delicious meal bowl, quality ingredients are essential.

Ingredients are handpicked by their chefs to ensure freshness, quality, and ultimately, taste. Meal bowls start at a base price of $10 and the price increases based on what you add on. Order sheets and pencils are located at the counter and it is extremely easy to order! So here’s my order for reference:

Base (choose 2): Sushi rice, purple & green cabbage

Greens (choose 5): Spinach, cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber, coriander.

Protein (choose 1): Sous-vide free-range chicken breast.

Dressing (choose 1): Roasted sesame.

Lux it up (choose 1): Onsen egg.

Crunch (choose 3): Crispy shallots, sesame seeds, tobiko (fish roe)

I also had a cup of iced organic apple tea for $3. Keep the glass cup and bring it back for a $1 rebate on your iced teas!

The vegetables are as good as it gets – the crunchiness of the radish, salad greens, and cabbage; the sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes; and the fragrance of the coriander – all good enough on its own without the need for a salad dressing. Sous-vide chicken breast is cooked till tender and moist and the slight tinge of vinegar in the sushi rice refreshes your palate. The addition of the “crunch” gives the meal bowl even more textures as well as the flavour from the shallots (an absolute favourite!). Last but not least, the bowl is topped with an onsen egg and my ritual is to break it and mix it into the rice below. The yolk was just a teeny bit overcooked but was still runny.

My second trip to Kipos was as good as the first. But this time, I went for their mentaiko salmon as it was highly recommended by my friends. True enough, it did not disappoint! I also went with a Yuzu Wasabi dressing which certainly packed a punch. The runny yolk (YES) from the onsen egg certainly aided in reducing the effects from the yuzu wasabi dressing.

Address:
7 Wallich Street, #B2-19
Singapore 078884
(It’s right next to Boost juice bar)

Nearest MRT:
Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15)

Opening Hours:
9:00AM – 8:30PM (Mon – Thurs)
10:00AM – 8:30PM (Fri)
11:00AM – 6:30PM (Sat)
Closed on Sundays.

Chirashi King Kong

A familiar donburi restaurant, with branches at Millenia Walk and Tanjong Pagar, Chirashi King Kong has its new place at Biopolis. Armed with their signature truffle rice that comes in every bowl, CKK certainly puts a new twist to Japanese rice bowls. For those working in Biopolis, it’s located at Neuros, just next to the prata shop.

There are a number of familiar favorites such as the Bara Chirashi Don (raw fish cut into cubes, marinated, and placed on top of rice), as well as the Unagi Don. I’ve personally tried three different bowls and I must say it triggers your senses.

Mentaiko Salmon Don

The very first one I tried was the Mentaiko Salmon Don. You can’t go wrong when there’s mentaiko and salmon. On top of that, it is seared with a blow torch before serving. The balance was surprising as I expected the truffle rice to overpower the entire dish. The acidity from the pickles help to clear your palate, and the mentaiko’s saltiness paired with the soft salmon completes the dish.

Unagi Truffle Don

The unagi don was pretty decent as the unagi was indeed..huge, and meaty. It was well-marinated with a sweet sauce. However, I could tell that there was probably a batch variation when it comes to the rice as the truffle aroma was a little stronger than usual. But it wasn’t overpowering, fortunately.

Assorted Fish Don

Lastly, the assorted fish rice bowl with thick cuts of sashimi. Salmon, swordfish, scallops, tuna, squid stuffed with shisamo roe, all on top of their signature truffle rice.

Address:
8 Biomedical Grove, #01-14
Neuros
Singapore 138665

1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-06
Singapore 082001

9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-17
Millenia Walk
Singapore 039596

Nearest MRT:
Buona Vista MRT (EW21/CC22)

Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15)

Promenade MRT (DT15/CC4)

Opening Hours:
11:00AM – 6:00PM (Mon – Fri) – Biopolis branch

11:00AM – 7:00PM (Mon – Sat) – Tanjong Pagar branch

11:00AM – 9:00PM (Mon – Sun) – Millenia Walk branch

Waa Cow!

It HAS been a while since my last post – a full 10 months. I’ve decided to come back on, but I’ll post little by little. And what better way to start of the year by indulging in a delicious bowl of Wagyu Beef Don! Shoutout to my foodie friends who encouraged me to continue blogging.

I’m sure most of my friends working in the CBD area have heard of Waa Cow and since I was in the area, I HAD to give it a try.

There are a number of rice sets but the highly recommended would be the Wagyu Beef Dons along with a few variants such as the addition of mentaiko, or even a truffled cheese version. The meat is so tender and juicy, and occasionally you’ll get tiny nuggets of fat that just melts in your mouth. I ordered the Mentaiko Wagyu Beef Don, so there will be a generous spread of mentaiko sauce right on top of the meat. It will be seared with a flame torch, so do not worry about that aspect.

Mentaiko Wagyu Beef Don

If you prefer a bowl without the mentaiko sauce, there’s always a traditional bowl of Wagyu Beef Don! Oh, and please add the onsen egg.

Wagyu Beef Don

Onsen egg = beautifully cooked. Rice was cooked perfectly, with none of your soggy nonsense. Pickles help to cut the richness of the truffle and the mentaiko sauce. There are number of ways to savour this beauty – you can choose to sample each component separately, each with a mouthful of rice, or break the yolk and mixing it in with the rice. Dee-lish.

Address:
5 Raffles Place, #B1-63
Singapore 048618

Nearest MRT:
Raffles Place (EW14/NS26)

Opening Hours:
Lunch | 11:30AM – 3:00PM (Mon – Fri)

Dinner | 5:30PM – 8:30PM (Mon – Fri)

Lunch | 12:00PM – 2:30PM (Sat)
Closed on Sundays.

Meat overdose at Brotzeit’s

So you think you’ve had enough of meat? Nooooope. Not until you head to Brotzeit for their platters. The Brotzeit Platter, a platter that “represents the Best of Brotzeit” is a platter that is guaranteed to meatify (I believe there’s no such word, but it’s alright.) your 5 senses including your tummy as well.

In the photo, from left to right, you have a variety of sausages which include grilled pork sausages, spicy chicken, cheese, thüringer (the spiral sausage) and garlic pork, followed by a crispy roasted pork knuckle, ending with honey Bavarian pork ribs. This platter (S$98) also comes with three side dishes: potato salad, fries and lastly my favourite, sauerkraut.

The star of the platter is right smack in the middle: the pork knuckle. It is beautifully roasted with its crispy outer layer and a juicy interior. Cutting through the crispy skin is like music to my ears and it opens up into the tender meat. Dip it in some wholegrain mustard and indulge in savoury porky-ness. Some people might find the knuckle too oily because of all the fats. It is normal to fill “gelat” or feel uncomfortable with that amount of fats. That’s what the sauerkraut is for! It helps to cleanse your palate and allows you to continue eating (it works for me).

However, the pork ribs were just above average. It did not have the “WOW” factor i.e. falling off the bone, extremely tender. The seasoning was alright, but I felt that it did not penetrate the meat as how it should be. But the platter as a whole was pretty good! Take care to not drink too much beer at the start if not you WILL be full very quickly. I should have ordered the schnitzel instead of the ribs, but that is for another time!

Address:
126 East Coast Road,
Singapore 428809
(When you are walking out of 112 Katong, walk towards the main road. Brotzeit will be across the road on your right.)

Nearest MRT:
Dakota Station (CC8)
Follow signs for “Blk 99” and take buses 10/16/32. These buses will stop opposite 112 Katong. You can’t miss it!

Opening hours:
Mon – Fri: 4PM – 12AM
Sat: 10AM – 1AM
Sun: 10AM – 12AM

Penne Bolognese: In less than 30 minutes!

In less than 30 minutes? Pasta bolognese? Yes it’s possible! The most important step before cooking is to prepare all your ingredients – “Mise en place”, a French term – which means “everything in its place”. You won’t have to worry about not preparing your vegetables, or taking meat out of the fridge.

Yes, bolognese sauce can be done in less than 30 minutes. I would say it’s a little like Nigella Express. With the right ingredients and proper steps, you don’t have to slave over the stove for hours and hours. There are many variety of meat sauces but of course the authentic one comes straight from Italy. Italian chefs have shown the proper way and the original recipe for the bolognese sauce and I wouldn’t dare to offend them!

My recipe is catered for convenience and families that would want a quick but really delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 600 – 800g of minced beef
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red onions (or yellow, whichever you prefer), finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 – 3 pieces of anchovy fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle of Prego® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes, reuse to add one can of freshly boiled water
  • Pasta of your choice (I used penne here. Traditionally, tagliatelle is used.)
  1. An important point to take note of when cooking minced beef, a tip I learnt from great chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, is to never put your mince in a cold pan. ALWAYS make sure your pan is really hot before adding your oil and adding the mince just before the oil starts to smoke. Also, try to use a deep-based pan for the mince.
  2. When you’ve done that, let the heat come back up and then start stirring the mince to break it up. Let all the water evaporate so that you can start searing/browning the meat.
  3. Once the meat is browned (take note of the crackling sound in the pan). Add the cumin powder, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and mix everything together.
  4. Add the finely chopped onions, crushed garlic, grated carrots, and continue mixing.
  5. Empty the bottle of tomato sauce as well as the tinned tomatoes, and also a can of freshly boiled water.
  6. After stirring for a couple of minutes, add the cherry tomatoes last. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. By now, you should already have a pot of salted boiling water to prep your pasta. The cooking time should be approximately 2-3 minutes less than the instructions on the packet (I will explain later).
  8. Drain the pasta when done, not before saving a cup of pasta water, and pour it into the bolognese sauce. Mix well!
  9. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, al dente or more than that, serve it from the pan or in a glass dish.
  10. Garnish with sprigs of coriander leaves/cilantro and julienned chilli.

[Notes]

A deep-based pan is important as you will be handling a substantial amount of liquid as well. For this recipe I used a wok as it IS deep and quite big as well. It is important to get it really hot as you don’t want to boil the meat. You want to caramelize the meat – gives it extra flavour.

Pasta choice is entirely up to you. I chose penne because the meat sauce can get trapped inside the holes thus making every bite a pleasure!

When cooking the pasta, you must know that there will be additional cooking time in the bolognese sauce. If the instructions on the packet says 11 minutes, and you cook it for that long, your pasta will be overcooked and might turn soggy. That is why you cook it 2-3 minutes less than the original so the pasta will be just nice when the dish is completed.

It is also not a crime to use pre-made sauces from the supermarket. They add so much flavour within a short time. However, to balance it out, I add a can of tinned tomatoes, some water, and occasionally a teaspoon of sugar to make it gentler on the palate.

In this recipe, I have added 2-3 pieces of finely chopped anchovies as it gives the dish a greater depth. People might hate anchovies, but after chopping them and simmering, they just melt away, leaving no trace. At. All.

Give this a try, and I would really, really appreciate any comments! Comments about the recipes, food, or even ways to improve my blog!

 

Chocolate truffles

It’s my very first attempt at making a dessert, especially one that I like: chocolate truffles!


I got this recipe from a part of Raymond Blanc’s Café Crème recipe, under the “ganache” section. Ganache is usually made by boiling cream and adding the chocolate of your choice to it, stirring until you get a smooth mixture!

The recipe I used is 300g of semi-sweet chocolate chips (an alternative means of chocolate), and 300ml of double cream. I used chocolate chips as the chocolate bars were slightly pricey for me. But the best chocolate to use would have to be at least 60% dark or more. This is definitely worth a try as you can always add liqueur to the mixture as you see fit.

Comments are always welcome!

 

[Edit]

This recipe, in my opinion, is quite flexible. I’ve added Bailey’s Liqueur into my chocolate mix before I chill it and tastes pretty good too! If you’re extremely adventurous, I would recommend infusing the cream with rosemary (for a start) and then removing the herb before adding chocolate in!

Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개)

 

 

I decided to make doenjang-jjigae (Soy Bean Paste Stew) after a week of thinking. I don’t hate it! It’s just because I have never tried it before. I’ve ordered Kimchi-jjigae, Yukgaejang and Budae-jjigae, but not doenjang-jjigae.

And as usual, the recipe is from Maangchi: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/doenjang-jjigae

The minor changes I made: Instead of making anchovy and kelp stock as written in her recipe, I used pork ribs in place of that. I believe using chicken stock will be fine as well.

It is, I wouldn’t say similar, something like Miso Soup. Doenjang-jjigae is not as salty as Miso, considering that I used 5-6 tablespoons of soy bean paste in this stew. And the longer you boil the stew, the more intense the flavour!

Give it a try!

Kimchi Chigae

I was looking back at some of my recipes and I realized that this one deserves a better photo than the previous one! So here’s an update on my version of kimchi chigae a.k.a. kimchi stew, adapted from Maangchi.

Kimchi Stew is a warm, spicy and a bubbling pot of kimchi goodness. It comes with a great combination of meat and vegetables so you can guarantee that it’s pretty healthy, although I wouldn’t recommend it eating everyday! It is absolutely normal to perspire profusely while eating this dish because that’s how it is!

IMG_1540
As mentioned earlier, the recipe is an adaptation from Maangchi’s recipe and it is not at all difficult to follow.

*Just a word of caution, the ingredients might be a deviation from the ‘proper’ kimchi stew.

Ingredients:

  • 500-600g of pork belly
  • 4-5 stalks of spring onions
  • 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 heap tablespoons of kimchi
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of hot pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons, or more, hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 packet of enoki mushrooms

How?

  • Prepare and clean the ingredients beforehand, that includes the stock.
  • For my version of kimchi stew, I used a hotpot as it maintains the temperature.
  • Arrange the ingredients in the hotpot in ANY way you like – plus points if you make it look photogenic.
  • Pour the stock in and let it bubble away slowly.

Maangchi’s recipe calls for an anchovy stock to be made but I used a pork-based one, which is also very easy to make. It’s just 500g of pork ribs into a pot of boiling water and let it boil on high heat for about 10-15 minute before bringing it down to a simmer.

Like what Marco Pierre White said, “Cooking is a philosophy..” So do not be dictated by what the recipe says. If you want to make it spicier, add more red pepper powder. Cooking this dish in a hotpot makes it easier for everyone to share and it sort of becomes like a steamboat-style kimchi stew!