Month: February 2009

Prawn Mee @ Starlight Road

I don’t usually write posts about hawker food. It’s not that I don’t like hawker food, it’s just that (1) there are others, like Leslie who know a helluva lot more about these dishes than I and post very eloquently about their findings, and (2) my darling wife S, despite also enjoying hawker food, doesn’t like most hawker centres. My poor wife, you see, tends to get overheated rather easily, which makes going to al fresco food centres a rather sweaty and stinky experience — which, if you know her, is way outside of her comfort zone. She’s more the turned-out-without-a-hair-out-of-place sort than the let’s-sit-around-in-singlets-and-shorts-that-are-way-too-small-for-me-do-you-like-my-tan type. Which is fine with me. Our little nation could do with more of the former and few less of the latter.

But there are some instances when, no matter how hot it might get, the trip is worth it. Or as Emile Hirsch opined in The Girl Next Door, “the juice is worth the squeeze.” When Ignatius Chan, owner of Iggy’s, the highest ranked restaurant in the 2008/2009 edition of The Miele Guide, recently raved about a prawn mee (noodle) stall near my home, I knew that sooner or later I’d drag S out for a sweaty breakfast of prawn noodles and pig tail soup.

Slow-cooking an egg

When I was a kid, if I had had my way, I would have eaten eggs for breakfast every day. My mother, however, believed that too many eggs was bad for a growing child. Given that she had a medical degree, and I was just a pint-sized glutton, who was I to argue? These days (thank the food gods), the idea that an egg a day leads to dangerously high cholesterol levels has been pretty much proven to be the myth that I always believed it was. Now, I can happily have eggs — soft-boiled, sunny-side up, scrambled, poached, baked, or even steamed in a custard — on any day of the week without fear. And at any time of the day. I could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner (although I will admit I wouldn’t have them for all 3 meals in the same day — even for me, that would be a tad excessive).

I always enjoy ordering an interesting egg dish for lunch or dinner when dining out. One of the best I have ever had is Joel Robuchon’s egg cocotte topped with a foamed mushroom cream and served over a parsely puree. A staple at Robuchon’s many Ateliers, this fabulous little dish is elegantly served in a martini glass. Judging by the number of both traditional journalists and food bloggers who have raved about this dish, in print and online, I guess I’m not alone. For those of you who have yet to try this little taste of heaven, the egg is slow-cooked at a low temperature so that while the egg is indeed cooked, the white is just barely set and the yolk is runny. For years, I’ve wondered exactly what temperature and what techniques Monsieur Robuchon uses.

Great company to be in

It’s always nice to be recognized for the things you do. I was very flattered to be included in a recent article published in the Times Online. The article lists 50 of the world’s best […]

Professional Food Styling Classes in Singapore

Photo by Jon Edwards

Last year, local food legend Violet Oon invited me to attend a one day workshop being conducted by one of America’s most famous and most talented food stylists. Having never had any real food styling training previously, I eagerly accepted. The class was amazing. I learned things that I never knew before and some shortcuts to making food look great which are pretty mind-blowing. I do have to admit that I don’t actually use most of them — mostly because I usually try to eat anything I shoot at home — but if I ever started to take on more professional photo assigments, I would most definitely find the tricks I learned invaluable.

Denise Vivaldo, who led the course, is coming back next month to teach two more 1 day Master Food Styling Classes. These courses are geared towards culinary professionals, chefs, publishers, ad agency personnel, bloggers and culinary students with an interest in food styling for print, television and film. In other words, these are pretty serious, professional level courses. And if you fit into the above categories, the investment in one or both would be money well spent.

I rabuuu Hambaaga

I love a great burger. And I especially rabuuuu Hambaaga. Which for those of you unfamiliar with Yoshoku cuisine, i.e. Japanese-Western food, is the Japanese version of a hamburger. It’s spelled both Hambaga and Hambaaga, and even sometimes spelled Hambaagu. Unlike a Western burger, the Japanese version is often served, not with buns, but with a thick demi-glace sauce and rice. Which makes it, in some ways, more similar to a French steak hache.

Like a great steak hache, a great Hambaaga depends on the quality of the meat you are using. S and I have become particularly partial to mixing wagyu rump and Berkshire pork belly (both of which we can easily get from Huber’s Butchery). We find that a 65% beef / 35% pork ratio is just about perfect. You need to use cuts of meat that aren’t too lean, or else your Hambaaga will be too dry. We also prefer to grind the meat ourselves. S likes a course ground. She says that it gives the burger a better texture and feel in the mouth.

Quick trip to Malacca

This past weekend, my darlin’ and always hungry wife S and I decided to get out of town. We didn’t want to go far, so we decided to drive up to Malacca, just a quick couple of hours away. I have been wanting to check out YTL’s new boutique hotel, The Majestic Malacca, ever since it opened. And I knew S wouldn’t say no to an indulgent weekend of eating in Malaysia.

Now, we’re not exactly Malaysia experts, and certainly not Malacca experts by any means (for real expert advice, go to Robyn Eckhardt’s fabulous Eating Asia blog), but the below is a quick recap and list of places we enjoyed visiting in this often overlooked and beautiful historic town.