Thursday, 28 June 2012

Chiso Zanmai Japanese Buffet Restaurant

During June School Holidays we have quiet a number of activities such as the Angry Birds Cable Car Ride (HERE), 6 Days Cruise Trip (HERE), exploring the new Ice Skating Rink at JCube (HERE) and etc. And just a week before the school holidays ends, my brother organized a buffet lunch meetup over at "Chiso Zanmai" since he knows our family loves Japanese cuisine.

Above shows my plating of "Kaiseki" which is a traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine where we just grab a big tray at the counter and pick-up our favourite Kaiseki dishes and enjoy our meal like what the Japanese Emperor did in the olden days. (All photos in this post are taken using iPhone since it is just our causal family gathering)

Chiso Zanmai is a Japanese Buffet Restaurant located at The Central, Clarke Quay which overtakes it's previous owner where Fisherman’s Market used to be. For the price of S$14.90++ to enjoy a Japanese style lunch buffet which serves up more than 80 varieties of food and desserts is definitely worth trying. And moreover Chiso Zanmai is originated from Osaka and this is their first branch outside of Japan.

Appetizers Counter
As usual to start off the buffet, I will pick up some cold dishes from the Appetizer Counter and enjoy it before heading for the hot dishes. For the appetizers, other than the above they also have cha soba, potato salad, mixed salad, deep-fried eggplant with bonito broth and etc. But my favourite choices are those shown above. 

These are my little boy's favourite and indeed they have quiet a good spread of Sushi upon selection too.

Hakkaido Ishikari Nabe is a common seafood and vegetables soup served in Hakkaido and most of us on our table loves this seafood pot with it's sweet and flavousome clear soup broth. As you can see from the photo above, there are prawn, flower crab, tofu, leek and etc in it which makes it prefer to go with steamed rice.

Ramen lover, you can choose between either Tonkotsu or Shoya soup base to go with your Ramen. For me, I will prefer the Tonkotsu which is pork base with a thicker and stronger taste compared to Shoya. Surprisingly the noodles are still quiet springy when bite so overall it still blends well with the broth.

Traditional Japanese Counter
There are basically two sections on the Hot Food Counter where you can grab some Traditional Japanese Cuisine or Teppan. Above shown a selection from Braised Squid with White Radish, Corn Cream Croquette, Stewed Pork And Potato, Crab Shao-mai and etc.

Hot Food
I did not snap much on the Teppan Counter as there are quiet a number of people around queuing for the food. But you can find yummy Takoyaki(octopus balls), Stir Fried Noodles, Tempura, Fried Pumpkin and etc. Above are some of the items from the Hot Food Counter that I love.

Mum loves these Deep Fried Yam which she mentioned is quiet similar taste to our Chinese Abacus Seeds.

Love this crispy and delicious Chicken Karaage that dipped in some Ponzu Sauce (citrus-based sauce) which gives it a similar taste like our Asian Lemon Chicken.

Dessert Counter
After a hearty meal, it's time to pamper yourself with some "sweet" dessert such as cake, tart, pastry or ice-cream. At their Dessert Counter, items are routine frequently through out the buffet and you can find some fresh fruits, cheesecake, mochi, eclair, jelly, ice cream or etc.

Since for the month of June they are having this "Matcha Fair", you could find most of their desserts are made with matcha theme. Out of those shown above, I love their matcha mochi, matcha tofu as well as the matcha tiramisu. Too bad I didn't get a chance to try their Matcha Panna Cotta which might be rotating in their dinner menu instead.


CHISO ZANMAI
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-17
The Central @ Clarke Quay
Reservation: +65 6221 3177

PRICE:
Lunch (12.00pm - 3.00pm)
Monday - Friday
Adult: S$14.90++   Child(below 1m): S$9.90++   Senior (above 60): S$12.90++

Saturday, Sunday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$19.90++   Child(below 1m): S$9.90++   Senior (above 60): S$17.90++


Dinner (6.00 - 10.00pm) SASHIMI (DINNER ONLY)
Sunday - Thursday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$24.90++   Child(below 1m): S$14.90++   Senior (above 60): S$22.90++

Friday, Saturday, Sunday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$29.90++   Child(below 1m): S$14.90++   Senior (above 60): S$27.90++


Top-Up $1.99++ For Free Flow Of Drinks
Cold beverages such as green tea, iced lemon tea, root beer and etc
Hot beverage such as coffee (black, cappuccino, latte) and tea


So if you are looking for some Japanese Style Buffet at an affordable price, perhaps you would want to consider Chiso Zanmai which I personally think it worth what we pay for. Will check what's on their July / August dinner menu soon as I eying on their SASHIMI!!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Kueh Tutu aka 嘟嘟糕


Kueh Tutu (嘟嘟糕) is a traditional Singaporean delicacy which is made using roasted rice flour and fillings such as grated coconut or peanut powder. Nowadays it is not easy to find some authentic ones which taste as good as it used to be.

Recently I have posted a Kueh Tutu photo on facebook (HERE) which draws over "300+ likes" from readers and some even suggested a few places where we can still find some yummy Kueh Tutu.


KUEH TUTU
嘟嘟糕


3rd Trial of my Kueh Tutu with Coconut Filling
My love for Kueh Tutu starts when I was in primary school as I remembered vividly that my father used to get them for me at least twice a week from one of the shop near our area. And I always love those with coconut filling compared to the rest.

So when readers ask about Kueh Tutu recipe, I thought perhaps I could try to Google. With lucky, I managed to find some posts online using a similar recipe they adapted from the Food And Travel Magazine (Singapore version). You can read more about Kueh Tutu and where to get it's mould HERE.


Recipe adapted from Food And Travel Magazine, August 2010 issue.

(Make: 12 |          Preparation: 15 minutes |         Cooking: 8 minutes per batch)

Ingredients:
1 Kueh Tutu Mould
2 Cups Rice Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
170ml Hot Water
Pandan Leaves, cut into squares

Coconut Filling:
1/2 Cup Fresh Grated and Skinless Coconut
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar/Gula Melaka

Steps On Coconut Filling:-
1. Prepare the coconut filling. Heat a pan over medium heat and melt the brown sugar together with some pandan leaves.

2. Stir in the grated coconut and cook until the mixture is well coated with the melted sugar and fairly dry. Set aside.

(You can use either frying pan or microwave method to roast the rice flour)

Steps On Cooked Rice Flour:-
3. Next dry roast rice flour in a non-stick pan with some pandan leaves for 2 minutes on medium heat or alternatively you can microwave it on medium high heat (1 minute) with some pandan leaves.

4. When done, remove it from heat and leave it to cool.

5. Mix salt and sugar in the hot water and sprinkle over the roasted rice flour.

6. Using a fork combine the liquid and flour until the mixture is cool enough to touch. this this an important step, the flour mixture should not be too dry nor too wet or else it would affect the end result when shaping the kueh tutu as well as its texture)

7. Sieve the grainy mixture to get a fine and sandy texture. (the texture resemble grated coconut with that bit of moisture)


Steps On Shaping the Kueh Tutu:-
8. Fill half the kueh tutu mould with prepared flour, top with 1 teaspoon of the coconut filling and cover with more flour.

9. Place a small piece of pandan leaf over it and press with a square muslin cloth.

10. Turn it over (lightly give it a knock) on the steamer rack with the muslin cloth below.

11. Repeat the above steps until the remaining flour and coconut filling(or peanut filling) have been used up.

12. Steamed the kueh tutu for about 7 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the steamer and serve immediately.


2nd Trial of my Kueh Tutu. Photo taken using iPhone
Although making Kueh Tutu at home is not an easy task and some of you might not be able to get hold of the mould because of the country that you are in. But as long as you could get hold of the rice flour(any brand), pandan leave(can be omit), grated coconut/peanut you could apply this recipe by using similar size plastic or aluminum foil cases to act as the mould.

Just for your information, a reader(Janetan) wrote me a note to me that she found a useful tips online:-
"to let the kueh stay soft, the secret is roast the rice flour then steamed using steam bath and cover with a wet cloth".
Perhaps you would like to consider this point when preparing the rice flour which is the key success of the Kueh Tutu.

Don't worry if you don't get the texture right on the 1st trial, always starts with 1 cup of the flour to test out the recipe if you prefer. Happy trying and I hope to hear from your feedback too.

The Rink @ JCube

With the recent heat waves that hits Singapore these two weeks, the best thing to do is to stay in-door in a fully air-conditioning shopping malls. And since my boy is interested in Ice Skating ever since our trip back from Voyager of The Seas early June.

We decided to check out this Singapore’s first Olympic-size ice rink which is located at JCube. It has a 460 seat gallery and the 60 by 30 metre rink is designed to host international events and competitions for sports such as ice hockey, curling and speed skating.

JCube is a new shopping mall that is filled with retails, dining and entertainment scene in Jurong East which is about 5 minutes walk from Jurong East MRT station (you can see the mall from the MRT platform).

The entrance of The Rink is located at level 3 of the mall at one end where you can access it via the lift at level 1. Beside the The Rink there are also winter wears and skates shops where you can purchase the gloves, socks and etc if you didn't bring along.

Here is the break-down of the "timing" for those who wish to visit The Rink. (my advice is to either go early if you can)

At the ticketing area grab the "combination" that you prefer. For us as since we have brought our own gloves and socks (thanks for maameemoomoo advice) we took the "Combo E" which consists Admission Fee plus Skate at S$15.50(Kids, 4 - 12 years old) and S$17.50 (Adult).

Normal Price List

Combination Rates. You can purchase either "Gloves" or "Socks" at S$2.00 per pair if you don't wish to loot them along with you! I advise Socks are a MUST for personal hygiene as well as prevention of blisters and the thicker the better!

After getting the entry tickets, you can proceed to the Skates Rental area to redeem your skates according to your shoes size. (for your information, your shoes will be retained in-exchange of the skates) And from what I have read online the smallest skates size is about 27 for kids.

These are the crowds at the Locker Area waiting to redeem their skates for the 2nd session which is at 12.45pm.

If you need a locker to keep your belonging, they do have a decent size of locker which is similar to those at the swimming pool at Non-Refundable fee of S$2.00 per locker. But if you forget something half way through during your game and wish to open the locker, you would have to pay another S$2.00 to lock it back.

All set and ready to go into the Ice Rink!


Since we went during School Holidays, the crowds are more towards family with younger kids and teenagers. Some of them are really good skaters who can skate well while others who can't also enjoys themselves at the Rink moving along happily at the sides of the wall.

It's pretty cold during the morning session that we went, so you might want to bring along a light jacket if you are afraid of the cold air. And wearing of jeans or long pant is advisable instead of shorts and skirt. Hope you have fun and enjoy the cold environment.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

Read up a few reviews on "Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)" which is located along 45 Tai Thong Crescent where the nearest MRT access is at Potong Pasir Station(NE10) plus about 8 - 10 minutes walking distance to the restaurant. And since we heard so much raves about their food, we decided to drop by two weeks back to try out some of their "recommended" dishes.

Indeed the place and the interior give us a "homely" family restaurant atmosphere and their staffs were pretty friendly when taking orders and etc.

Although they have quiet a range of items from their menu but this signature "Assam Fish Head (亚参鱼头)" is what we are there for. The gravy might look "spicy" from the photo above, but when taste it is just nice with good balance of spiciness and sourish taste which our family loves. And moreover the fish is very fresh with firm and juicy meat together with lovely brinjal, lady fingers, pineapple and etc which makes it perfect for 2 bowls of steamed white rice.
Price: S$25.00 per plate (half fish head)

To be honest, I ordered this "Kyoto Pork Ribs (京都排骨)" because I wanted to see the "fire" effect before the "parcel" is being reveal to show the pork ribs but sad to say instead of "fire" we were all being "smoke" by its smoky effect when the dish is being place on the table.

For us, nothing special about this pork which we find it rather a bit salty and tough. Should have try the coffee pork ribs instead.

Price: S$20.00 per plate

Special Made Tofu With Lingzhi Mushroom (灵芝菇扒豆腐盒) taste good with their silky homemade tofu which is deep-fried but yet not oily. The tofu blocks are serve with some lingzhi mushroom together with blanched broccoli.
Price:- S$12.00 per plate

Their Prawn Roll (虾卷) or also known as Hei Zho is served with the usual sweet sauce with the smaller portion of 8 pieces in a plate. Quiet similar taste to the usual hei zho we had from some cze char stalls which is wrapped with beancurd skins and deep-fried till crispy. Love the juicy filling with crunch of chestnuts bits which taste great with the dipping sauce.
Price:- S$8.00 per plate (8 pieces)

Lastly we also tried the Oyster Omelette (蚝煎蛋) which looks so good on one of the blog reviews that I have read. This oyster omelette is different from those served in the hawker center where you find more starchy content rather thane egg. Here the omelette is more fluffy with less starch and generous amount of fat and juicy oysters that service with some spicy chilli sauce on it. The dish is a bit salty on its own so it is best to eat it with some rice unless you have strong taste bubs.
Price:- S$12.00 per plate


GU MA JIA (姑妈家)
45 Tai Thong Crescent Sennett Estate
Singapore 347866
Reservation No.: 6285 2023

Website: http://gumajia.com.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foodpot

Opening hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm(daily)


Friday, 22 June 2012

{Food Art} Froggy Breakfast Set


Recently I got a box of LunchPunch sandwich cutters which comes in a set of 4 different patterns. There are 5 different themed of LunchPunch cutter whereas mine is the "Sand*wishes*" themed which consists of cute "fairy princess" with a cut out star and "frog prince" with the removable crown and etc.


SAND*WISHES* CUTTERS
(product from LunchPunch)



Since it is during mid-year school holidays, where I do not need to rush madly to prepare our daily breakfast,  I can spare some extra "5 - 10 minutes" doing out some "cute" breakfast like the above. And at the same time I can do it together with my kid to create parent bonding time where he can helps me to cut out some of the shapes and arranged the food on the plate.


(Serves: 1 |        Preparation: 5 - 7 minutes |         Cooking: 5 minutes)

Ingredients:
2 Slices of Plain Or Wholemeal Sandwich Bread
1 Slice of Breakfast Ham
1 Slice of Sandwich Cheese
1 Cherry Tomato, halved
1 Hash Brown or Some Potato Gems
Some Whole Walnuts, toasted
Some Salad Green, optional

Method:-
1. Either blanch the ham in hot water or lightly fry it on a pan for 10 seconds on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Using your desire LunchPunch cutter (i choose the frog prince), punch out the "frog" shaped on each slice of bread as shown above.

3. Next adjust the crown of the "frog prince" cutter to fix the sandwich cheese and cut out a "crown" and "legs" to fix it on 1 slice of the frog shaped bread.

4. Repeat the same process using the cutter to cut out "mouth" and "legs" from the ham using the help of a toothpick or food stick to outline the cut out. (refer to the step-by-step photo above)

5. Lastly assemble the sandwich and place all the leftover pieces of ham and cheese between the two slices of frog shaped bread.

6. Arrange the tomato halves and features of the frog and serve it on some salad green together with toasted walnuts, hash brown and a glass of milk/coffee/tea.



Sometime with just a little more effort everyone can turns simple ingredient into something appealing like cafe style breakfast set! Look the above Froggy Sandwich Set, isn't it adorable and close to cafe standard of their Kid's Breakfast Menu. I am sure you won't resists to order one of this, right?

For more kid's menu ideas, you can refer to my other posts HERE.

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