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Thomaschan
This is Thomaschan living in West Coast. I am a StudentI like to hang out in Orchard, Yishun, Clementi. Japanese, Singaporean, Cantonese/Hong Kong are my favorite cuisines. I also love Restaurant, Café and Dim Sum, Steaks and Grills, Sushi/Sashimi.
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Thomaschan  Level 3
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Xiao Long Bao at its best Smile Feb 19, 2013   
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Categories : Shanghainese

I remembered the first time I had Xiao Long Bao, it was in this particular Crystal Jade restaurant and till today, the vivid memory of my awkward fumbling of these delicate art pieces still haunts me. Due to my virgin experience and ignorance, I didn't knew the existence of a small pouch of soup wrapped beneath the thin, delicate dumpling skin. At that time, I sucked at using chopsticks and the way I picked things up - it's to poke them. Things happened and my lovely Xiao Long Bao was ruined.

Recently, dear Peiyi and I had the chance to visit this famous Shanghai-nese restaurant during the weekdays. And oh my, customers were already queueing up, but again, lucky us for we were seated within 15 minutes. Those with bigger groups had to wait up to almost an hour (and again I stressed - it was a weekday!)

Xiao Long Bao (S$4.80 for 4) was glorious. The dumpling skin was just right and the broth complemented the juicy minced pork meat. Mother Kook called me stupid for not eating it with vinegar (which I don't, I detest the smell), but let me tell you that this beauties go well without vinegar and shredded ginger too. Just do not make the same mistake as me.

Pan Fried Pork Bun (S$4.00 for 3) does not lose out. Sink your teeth into these soft fragrant bun and savour the succulent fillings. I thought this yummy buns look like the classic Meat Pao, but just pan fried and upgraded like four levels up.

 
Ohh-la-la.

 
Salted Nanjing Duck (S$8.50) was a tad hard for my liking. Nevertheless, these beautiful duck slices were luscious with a thin layer of fat. Just look at the soft pinkish-red meat! However, I always preferred eating duck drenched in Chinese braised sauce, so this does not appeal to me much.

 
Lastly, we had Crystal Jade speciality La Mian with Braised Beef (S$8.50). The beef was so tender and juicy, especially the tendons, which I totally love them. (while girlfriend finds them fross. Weird.) Their speciality noodles were definitely one of the best in Singapore, with the spot-on chewiness. But what I wanted to praise most is what holds this entire dish together - the broth. Thick brown soup made of long-simmered ingredients, it brings forth a subtle sweet and herbal aroma that makes you want to devour this dish.

 
Besides ala-carte, Crystal Jade (Holland Village) also presents a South-Northern buffet experience which includes steamboat and a huge variety of appetizers, meat, drinks and dim-sum. The best part is that you get all the Xiao Long Bao you can eat!

A very useful tip - do your reservations! Walking in for the buffet guarantees near 0% you can get a table at dinner hours.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Xiao Long Bao,Pan Fried Bun
 
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Categories : Singaporean Chinese | Hawker Centre

Carrot Cake is something not to be missed in authentic Teochew cuisine. Also known as "chai tow kway" in the language, it is made with cubes of radish cake, stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish and other assorted ingredients, such as dried shrimps and chopped spring onions.

Cycling down East Coast Park on a hot sunny morning, a bunch of friends and I decided to get some quick bites, as well to quench our thirst with ice-cold sugarcane juice. So there was this plate of fried carrot cake (S$3.00) that my dear friend, Jesline ordered and little did I know, it was voted in a contest by Citygas and Shin Min News Daily as one of the top eight carrot cake stalls in early 2011.

The chefs at Lagoon Carrot Cake really know their stuff well - carrot cake and eggs pressed down and fried together till lightly crisp and golden brown, which brings along a strong savoury fragrance. Unlike the common ones, their carrot cakes are less moist and slightly more starchy. The fresh shrimps (additional S$1) and spring onions added an extra oomph, while the homemade chilli brought the dish to another level.

 
For health gurus, it is definitely worth putting your diet plans aside for once, and just enjoy this plate of sinful goodness.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Carrot Cake
 
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Affordable French Affair Smile Feb 19, 2013   
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Categories : French | Chinese Soup | Burgers and Sandwiches

Inspired by the French phrase - C'est Bon which means "it's good", Saybons started with an objective to make authentic French classics fuss-free, yet affordable and accessible. Bromance ZR, Brother Tim and I were deciding on our makan place after church service, when I suggested having a cup of hot classic French soup and some savoury crepes at Saybons.

 
Talking about those mouth-watering crepes, Saybons probably serves one of the best (and yet wallet-friendly) in Singapore. These waffle-thin pancakes (prices range between S$3 - $5) are made using a French-style secret recipe, consisting of just the right amount of batter and, tasted light and buttery, paired with their wide range of sweet or savoury ingredients - one huge YUM.

I also love how they make it chewy but with a slight crisp on the edges. And for convenience sake, these crepes are served in a paper pocket.. Better to enjoy it while it's piping hot!

 
Smoked Salmon, Onions and Cheddar Cheese

 
Sauteed Portobello and Button Mushrooms, with Cheddar Cheese

 
We also had a variety of classic French soups (from right) Potato & Leek, Wild Mushroom and Fresh Tomato. Using only the freshest food ingredients, these delectable soups are a healthy alternative to your usual artificial drinks or "as a delicious complement to your regular meal." They also take pride in their traditional French cooking techniques, resulting in a refined, smooth texture with no irregular bits or chunks in the soups.

One can even (or rather, the proper technique is to) drink the 8oz soup without any soup spoon, instead sip it as if you are drinking coffee or tea.

Still filling hungry? They also serve other affordable French dishes, such as breads, salads and a variety of escargots as well. You can even design your own crepe, with more than 10 toppings to choose from.
 
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Desserts of Heritage Smile Feb 19, 2013   
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Categories : Chinese Desserts | Desserts and Cakes

Before meeting my girlfriend, I did not even know that this specific type of powdery shaved ice existed - and that would had been a total waste. Nowadays, instead of your typical ice desserts, such as ice kacang and chendol, people are having bowls of towering shaved ice, which are usually flavoured and topped up with syrup, diced fruits and jelly cubes. Well, with all the new desserts stalls starting to appear in the local food scene, you might ask, "where is the best dessert place, or has the best snow ice?" Although the answer might be ambigious to some, Mei Heong Yuen, or better known as 味香园 is one dessert place to head for.

Being featured in several newspaper articles and television programmes, Mei Heong Yuen is also proud to be one of Singapore's Chinatown Heritage Brand, an initiative by Chinatown Business Association to introduce long established heritage brand names to visitors. Despite being in business for years, its standard still remained the same, unlike some restaurants who slacked on their standards after quite some time. And, if you are still wondering why the name sounds familiar, the owner of Mei Heong Yuen also owns the famous Farmer Brand peanut - the logo features a farmer holding a spade and a bunch of groundnuts with the other hand.

Shifting the focus back to the shave ice, Mei Heong Yuen has one the best ones in Singapore. Their Mango Snow Ice (S$5.00) is a good thirst quencher on hot days, with the flavoured ice matched with fresh mango puree and mango cubes. The strawberry version (S$5.00) does not lose out as well, being a good lover of the adorable-looking red fruit, I am bias towards to this shaved ice, paired with fresh strawberry slices and jelly cubes.

 

 
Another favourite of mine - Yuan Yang Snow Ice (S$6.00), a perfect combination of black (sesame) and white (almond), which comes complete with roasted almond slices and grass jelly cubes. If you like the hot yuan yang paste, I am pretty sure you would take a liking to the cold version as well.

 
Expecting no less from the owners of Farmer brand peanuts, Mei Heong Yuen is also highly acclaimed for their smooth Peanut and Walnut paste (S$3.00). Recently, Mei Heong Yuen has once expanded to fit the large crowds, and it is now occupying three shops allocation. On top of that, they do have another outlet at the basement of Ion Orchard as well. It is small and often over-packed, therefore if you're eating in a big group, do head to their Chinatown outlet.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Strawberry Snow Ice,Mango Snow Ice,Sesame Paste,Peanut Paste
 
Date of Visit: Dec 23, 2012 

Spending per head: Approximately $6(Other)

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Categories : Japanese | Sushi/Sashimi

Most diners would think twice about good Japanese food being served in a Food Republic restaurant. Girlfriend and yours truly felt pretty skeptical as well, but were eased by the snaking queue forming outside Koh Grill & Sushi Bar. As Singaporeans, our kiasu mindset immediately made an assumption that this sushi bar is definitely a glutton's favourite hunt and thus allow our love for food consume us as we joined the queue.

If there is only one food item you could have, it must be their signature Shiok Maki (S$16.80) and it is called "SHIOK" for a reason - grilled unagi (eel) and soft avocado strips wrapped in a lightly roasted salmon maki, topped with melted cheese, mayonaise and an abundance of flying fish roes. The sinful burst of flavours were incredibly amazing and has since, found a spot in my favourite maki list.

 
The lightly-salted Salmon Skin (S$4.00) has a delectable crisp to every single bite, which make this dish a good side kick. Come to think of it, salmon skin is a pretty awesome beer snack.

 
I felt cheated when the Asparagus Buta Maki (S$3.00) arrived on my table, as it was puny in comparison to the usual. However, this delightful wrap of slightly crisped bacon and juicy asparagus was a surprise to the palate.

 
Gindara Yaki (S$16.00, additional S$2 for rice and miso soup) - cod fillet baked with cheese and flying fish roes, completed with fresh cabbage salad and garlic miso sauce. It was a tad salty for my liking but the sinful, yet addictive combination was too alluring to resist.

 
If you are looking for good, and yet affordable Japanese cuisine, do look no furthur than Koh Grill and Sushi Bar.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Shiok Maki
 
Date of Visit: Nov 30, 2012 

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