NN Header

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Dinner at Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant @ Sembawang

1 Bah Soon Pah Road, Simgapore 769959
Tel: 6756 0311

Photosource: http://purplelofts.blogspot.sg/2013/07/dinner-orchid-live-seafood.html

A seafood restaurant serving uniquely Singapore dishes since 1999, Orchid Live Seafood got its name because the first outlet was in Orchid Country Club. Today, they have 2 outlets - one at Sembawang and one at Seleter Hills Estate - click here to read my review on the Seletar Hills Estate outlet.

A typical Chinese live seafood restaurant with a casual setting showcasing large tanks of sea creatures swimming around in them, Orchid Live Seafood is well known for their Lobster Porridge and Steven's Chicken Wings. It is also a restaurant by Crystal 18 Restaurant.

We started with a platter of Milk Cabbage (SGD$15.00) gently stir-fried in a tasty gravy with garlic.

Then Black Pepper Hot Plate Venison (SGD$24.00), grilled deliciously with peppers and steaming hot with tinges of spiciness. The thin slices of venison were tender, as well.

There was also the Mango and Prawn Roll (SGD$30.00) - deep-fried battered rolls containing fresh, saccharine prawns and even sweeter mango.

Next, Steven's Chicken Wings (SGD$24.00) aka lollipop chicken wings - crackling on the exterior and tender on the inside- one of their signature dishes.

Finally, the star of the night and the main reason we were here - Lobster Porridge (SGD$150.00), made up of a huge pot of grainy rice cooked in rich, nectarous lobster broth. Every spoonful was a delight, bursting with deliciouness in the mouth. The lobsters were fresh and springy in texture, tasting lovely even after shedding their essence in the broth.

We enjoyed dinner there very much, and this is at least my 3rd visit for the famous Lobster Porridge.  You may also like to read about Lobster Porridge at Wan He Lou (click here).

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Lunch at Kanazawa Sushi @ International Building (Revisit)

360 Orchard Road #02-13 International Building, Singapore 238869
Tel: 6738 3833

Decided to revisit Sushi Kanazawa for those delicious, freshly-prepared sushi by chefs right in front of patrons, and there were a few items that I missed. Read about the last revisit here.

Yeah, so we sat around the counter watching the chefs hard at work, dishing out plates of delicacies to us all. They have the a la carte menu but we decided to go for the buffet at SGD$48.50 per pax.

They started us off with a bowl of Soup - chicken, fried beancurd and melon, a rather tasty clear broth. There was a small plate of Edamame beans as well (didn't take photos of it this time round).

Then the Sashimi Moriawase (assorted raw fish) was served - there was swordfish, tuna, salmon and shrimp. The fish sashimi were thickly sliced and had the essential fresh, bouncy texture to them.

I did not really fancy the Bamboo Shoot so I just had a small bite to test it.

The first item of the day for us was the Amaebi Mentai Aburi (torched sweet prawn with cod roe) - my very favorite since the previous visit. The charred-and-buttery tasting mentaiko melted in the mouth along with the sweetness of the prawn, and it was just so tasty I repeated this order at least thrice.

Next, the Kawahagi Sushi (leather jacket), a white fish with a slightly leathery texture and subtle sweetness.

Salmon Aburi (torched salmon) was up next, another personal favorite that brought the natural flavor of salmon to new heights by the smokey hints that it adopted through the torching process. Needless to say, the salmon nearly dissolved in the mouth upon contact too.

Then we had the Tai (Sea Bream) which had a flavor similar to tuna but a gentler texture, like yellowtail.

The Chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg custard) was finally brought to the table, smooth and piping hot, with the usual ingredients within such as fish cake, mushroom, gingko nut and chicken meat.

Following that, we were given the Kajiki Sushi (swordfish), buttery flavor and smooth texture.

Now, the Tabiuo (flying fish), with a slightly slimy texture but heavier flavor, garnished deliciously with sauce, spring onion and sesame seeds.

Maguro (red tuna) came to us next, buoyant in freshness, with an added crunch from the sesame seeds.

Next up, the Hokkigai (whelk) , another rather creamy-textured fish with a subtle flavor.

The Kakigai (oyster) was lovely as well, juicy and flavorsome.

We had Kajiki Aburi (torched swordfish) after that - another devastatingly good item that disintegrates in the mouth in a delicious mush of fish and garnishings.

Then the Hamachi (yellowtail) gentle in taste and texture, rather non-descript.

After that, the Nihotate (cooked scallop), something that I usually enjoy for its chewy juiciness.

The Unagi Aburi (torched river eel) was the other item that I ordered and repeated about thrice - it was simply awesome. Imagine the flavorful river eel melting into a heap of deliciousness in the mouth slowly...

Next, the Hotate Aburi (torched fresh scallop) that contained slowly disintegrated in the mouth upon contact as well.

Finally, for sushi, it was the Akagai (arkshell) exuding tastefulness amongst a crunchy texture.

As for desserts, there was the choice of Fruit Jelly as well as Mango Pudding -  I had the latter, which wsa a soothing, refreshing and coolness touch of sweetness to the palate after a fulfilling, savoury meal. The pudding was smooth and resplendent of mango flavor, definitely a delightful conclusion.

p.s. photo credits to *Celine for the last 3 pics - my camera died on me due to low batt.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Asian's Mentality Towards Healthchecks

Today is one of your typical Friday the thirteenth, and a piece of news broke through the light-heartedness of the upcoming weekends, stirring my thoughts once more, on the fragility of life itself.

My closest uncle was diagnosed witb 4th stage Colon Cancer. There were no obvious symptoms or red flags raised all these while, except the occasional, milder pangs which he would attribute to relapses of his childhood gastric pains. After all, he eats very healthily, exercises on a daily basis, does not smoke nor drink, lives in a nice area where he breathes hills and lush greenery every morning, and does the basic health screening on an annual basis.

If anyone were to attain longevity of life, it should be him, right? Well, don't worry, he just underwent a 3-hour long surgery last night at a good hospital under the care of accredited doctors at my recommendation - the operation went smoothly and he should be discharged in a week or so.

When I asked him why he'd never thought to do more thorough healthchecks before, he honestly answered that since he leads a very healthy lifestyle, he did not see the need for these tedious bodily tests that might require hours on end to conduct. His words made me want to emphasize to you right now the 5 main misconceptions Asians have about healthchecks, and why they should be discarded immediately.

1. Healthchecks / healthscreenings are troublesome and unnecessary
Right - that means you probably never heard of "prevention is better than cure".  By the time your body starts displaying weird signs, trust that some part of it has already been hit hard - and probably underwent months or years of endurance before the breakdown. Why do you think machines require periodical checks instead of waiting till it malfunctions eventually? Why do you need anti[-virus for your computers even when they are brand new? Well, your body works the same way, so please be kind to it and bring it for checks at least once a year.

2. Healthchecks / healthscreenings are Expensive
Yes, admittedly, they are, especially if you choose to go for the comprehensive ones. Again, for the sake of prevention, and if you measure it against the value of your health - whats a few hundred dollars a year? Your latest (don't say Prada or Chanel) Longchamp bag, new I-phone or Japan trip probably are less vital than a good healthscreening package - yet I bet you probably pay for the latter items without batting an eyelid, but feel the need to sacrifice bodily checks.

3. Lack of proper information
I have personlly been reprimanded by (both educated and uneducated) elderly folks for suggesting that they attend healthchecks / healthscreenings, citing reasons from superstitions to "don't curse me" scoffs to distrust of the medical facility handling their health reports. These people misunderstand the true purpose of a healthcheck / healthscreening, later blaming illnesses to everything else besides their own lack of commitment to healthcare. Would someone educate them on this please?

4. "Don't Say It" (denial)
No one likes to hear bad news, especially news that they have been diagnosed with somethint unpleasant diseases. After all, it affects one's emotional and financial well-being, and may even eventually disrupt their lifestyle totally. Who wants to think about medical bills, long-term treatments and being a burden to family members? So, better not go for checkup, in case something bad is being discovered.

But f you keep burying your head in the sand this way, you would eventually end up with your worst fears. After all, not knowing, not hearing, not discovering, does not mean that the problem does not exist. Discovering it at an earlier stage would help save more costs than treatments at later stages - where sums of money spent may no longer guarantee recovery.

5. We are meant to die anyway
So you enjoy living life on the edge, believing that you would have no regrets even if you were to die today? Hence the unhealthy food and lifestyle, as well as deliberate neglect of bealthchecks / healthscreenings.

Cool, you rock! Just ensure that before you are diagnosed or die, you have set aside enough savings for treatments in case you fall ill.  Better yet, maybe disown all kin so that if you incur massive bills, they wont be implicated; and if you have difficulties with daily living activities, they won't be burdened to take care of you. If you think I sound harsh here, you are even harsher to your loved ones, through these selfish thoughts of yours.

If any of the above scenario or mentality reasonate with you, or sound familiar, perhaps it is time to change your views on healthchecks / healthscreenings, and to educate your loved ones to do the same. Take ownership of your own health, because ultimately, health is wealth!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Dinner at Soup Restaurant

450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, #01-10 Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre, Singapore 319194
Tel: 6352 2889

Having eaten the famous Samsui Chicken, a signature dish at Soup Restaurant a few years back, I was not impressed. Hence I decided to give it another go today, with 3 other foodie friends.

A Chinese restaurant rich in Oriental decor and served by polite crew, Soup Restaurant offers a variety of Chinese dishes at reasonable prices.

Lately, they let patrons have the choice of choosing between the a la carte menu or steamboat buffet (the latter at SGD$26.90++ per pax). We decided to go for a la carte.

Dinner began with Samsui Chicken (SGD$17.90 for small), neatly chopped tender, moistened steamed chicken arranged artfully with cucumber sliced around the plate, and served with their special pound ginger dip. Tasty and succulent,  I actually liked it a lot better this time round.

Then Sweet Sour Pork with Pineapple (SGD$12.90), consisting of small pieces of crispy pork marinated to give it a nice tangy taste.

Tofu Prawns (SGD$17.90 for small) was drenched in gravy that bore an uncanny resemblance to chilli crab sauce. In fact, the taste of the gravy was like a toned-down, non-spicy, much-sweeter version of the familiar local chilli crab gravy we all know. I enjoyed this sweet, sour gravy with egg beaten in, as well as the springy prawns and soft egg tofu rounds.

A plate of Fried French Beans with Minced Meat (SGD$10.90) balanced the meaty meal with its crisp, crunchy sweetness.

We also had starters of Spicy Wings (SGD$4.50) that comprised of crackling skin, tender flesh but bland taste - spiciness was not quite detectable, unfortunately.

Finally, a small tray of Steamed Siew Mai (SGD$3.90) concluded the meal. Being steamed using metal trays instead of wooden trays might have affected the taste? I dont know, but we knew it wouldnt be a dish we'll order again if we return.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Lunch at Beppu Menkan Restaurant (别府面馆) @ China Square

3 Pickering Street #01-32 / 33 China Square Central, Nankin Row, Singapore 048660
Tel: 6438 0428 

Beppu Menkan has a rather long-standing history in Singapore. I remember eating here, as well as their now-defunct Tiong Bahru Plaza outlet since around a decade back. Besides the usual rice, seafood and other Japanese dishes, Beppu Menkan is famed for its spicy ramen - where diners could select the various levels of spiciness they preferred.  They had this concept since back then, when very little restaurants had this offering.

There were three of us lunching, after Saturday's event.

We started with Chawanmushi (SGD$4.80) which was just typical Japanese steamed egg and rather non-descript here.

Then a Garden Salad (SGD$6.80) with tossed vegetables, Japanese dressing and shredded strips of crabstick.  This was refreshing and a delicious start to the meal.

The Assorted Sashimi for 4 pax (SGD$28.80) was very reasonably-priced, made up of salmon sashimi, squid sashimi, swordfish sashimi, octopus sashimi and tuna sashimi with some salmon roe. The composition was rather colorful, and tasty. It was not the freshest or thickest we'd eaten, but enjoyable all the same.

Following that, we had the Soft Shell Crab (SGD$8.00), a crackling yet tender dish served with dressing on the side. We also enjoyed this item immensely.

The Grilled Mayo Prawn (SGD$7.30) was so good we ordered 2 sets of this in all. The prawn was luscious and firm, topped with creamy mayonnaise sauce and grilled to smoky succulence, scoring full points for texture and taste.

Last but not least, Grilled Squid (SGD$11.80) which looked so tantalising on its own. The long sea creature was sliced expertly into even strips, and every strip was succulent and chewy. Natural sweetness of squid was combined with a slightly charred hint as well as the sweet soy sauce doused over it.

Finally, Tsukimi Ramen (SGD$8.80) -  in a creamy Kyushu broth and without chilli, because the other two guys didn't take spicy. There were also half-boiled egg (not flavoured egg), sliced chashu, spring onion and fried garlic. The ramen was normal and nothing to boost about, except that the broth was delicious.

It was overall a satisfying lunch where we got to eat lots of our favorite seafood items at Japanese restaurants and price was very reasonable. Service was very attentive because on a Saturday afternoon,  there were only a few tables.