Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tea Time Talk 3: Chinese Tea

Chinese green tea with light, mellow fragrance and bland taste. This tea is unsuitable to be taken with overpowering food that can kill off the subtle flavour of this exquisite tea. Not highly priced nor sought after, but a great company after a satisfying meal.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Durian Daily 19: Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gastroliterery 20: Americans


Stories goes that a group of Hainanese chefs who worked on the ship, in their retirement, opened this 'The Ship Restaurant'. Real sailor chefs opening a restaurant?

Feeling excited, I stepped into the restaurant. A polite man in his 50s, welcomed warmly. The place was relatively quiet for it was located in the quiet corner of an Orchard Road building. (Shaw Tower, 4th Storey)

Efforts was made to emulate a ship environment, although the place does feel a little old-fashhioned.

There is no sea view unfortunately. Nor gulls nor babes by the bay.

The food came with good timing. Soup was pretty average. Same goes for the bread. The Fried Fish and Fried Prawn was not oily and some of the freshness of the seafood was preserved. There was also cod fish where the fish melts in the mouth. However, the salmon's standard lagged behind.

Dessert was very ordinary cake that no further describing is worthy.

Overall, the dinner experience was slightly above average. There was a thunderstorm at point of time which makes dining quite like a ride upon the stormy sea experience. The service was acceptable though they would have scored more points if they had made more effortsto satisfy or to impress their customers till they left. I do look forward to sample their signature dishes, though not entirely Western, of fish head bee hoon and Hainan chicken rice.

Price: $20-$30 for a set dinner Food, Service Ambience, Overall index: 6.5 6.5 7 7

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I Love Globalisation 5: East Meets West

East meets West sounds like a fashionable fusion of many cultures of world. As the Asian world rise up to challenge the position of the Western world, the food we eat, clothes we wear, medicine we take, music we listen to or the show we watch, have a mix and match of the westest and the eastern influences.

What is 'East meets West' translation in Mandarin? It is:

中西合并 ?

Or is it?

东西合并 ?

But 中西合并 is 'China meets West' and not 'East meets West'.
Did the Chinese national deliberately left the rest of Asia and think that only the Chinese are worthy of such infusion of cultures? How about countries like India and Vietnam? Are they not rising powers of Asia? Why are they left out?
Maybe it is because 中西合并 sounds better than 东西合并? China is just so big a country, that they can just forget the rest of the world.

At least, the English 'East meets West' shows that the speakers are more open-minded, and do not think that the whole world belongs to them only.

What about Singapore? Is it 新中合并? As Singapore has much Western influences due to flourishing Western economies in the 20th century, Singapore can combine with the economy powerhouse of the 21st century China, so that both Western and Eastern values, culture can be exchanged effectively. We learn the wonderful values of China from the China Chinese, and in turn, they learn the Western culture from the Singaporeans. Very soon, it will be 新中合并 and for tiny Singapore, the rest of the world can very well be obsolete.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Durian Daily 18: Academic Ranking of World Universities

It is unlikely that the local media will report the national's university ranking done by the reputable Shanghai Jiaotong University. Well, the survey of this Chinese University is probably unbiased given that their nation's best university ranked out of the top 150 range.

Now, for the shocking news, Singapore's top univeristy, NUS is not within the top 20 or even within the top 100, out of 500 universities world-wide. USA dominates the top places in the world-wide rankings, while Japan topped the Asian region.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Supermarket Spree 1: Chocolate Sticks

Supermarket Spree, a subsidiary of Gastronomy, has decided to separate itself as an independent category, in order to prevent overflooding of Gastronomy. Supermarket Spree hopes to record good buys and wishes the worthy reader to make intelligent use of their resources.

Now here is the true judgment on the above choco-sticks, one should decide upon his next snack.

Lotte, Pepero Almond
Country of Origin: South Korea
Although the packaging indicates that it originates from South Korea, but the packaging is obviously from China (indicated).

Price: $1.30

Nutritional Information: Does not exist

Packaging: 5
Mediocre packaging, with no nutritional information found. Such information is essential to the well-being and awareness of the ordinary consumer. The paper packaging does not leave an impression behind, although the designs are colourful and slightly attractive.

Taste: 5.5
The biscuit sticks are almost hollow inside; without any crunch. The tongue can feel the presence of the chocolate, unfortunately, it is not the case for the tastebuds. The almonds have a right amount but perhaps the manufacturer should have added in the 'roasting almonds process' into part of their manufacturing procedure.

Overall: 6
The cheapest of the all, although it is rated lowest in quality. It is good for a quick snack if one is on a tight budget.

Glico, Pocky Almond Crush

Product Information:
Country of origin:Japan
At around $5 a box, this had better be good.
The nutritional information and ingredients are clearly indicated. It contains 4 packs of 6 sticks.

Packaging: 8
This product booast the most attractive packaging. Attractive and tempting, the illustration depicts on seemingly good quality paper.

Opening the box, is also a wonderful surprise. Four lovely, with golden embroidery, while revealing the main course for the day. Anyway, the four individually packed chocolate snacks does not require one to finish up hastily once it is opened. Although, it may seem to be a waste of resources at which the product is packaged, nevertheless the product indicates 'Recycle'. (Maybe I did not notice, but local goods did not seem to encourage recycling.)

Taste: 7.5

Once opened, the smell of the chocolate catch up upon the nose, though strangely there is a hint of coffee aroma. The stick booast rich chocolate and generous amount of fragrant almonds.

Overall: 7
At $5 a pack, it should be discouraging for overconsumption of this flavourful snack.

Meiji, Lucky Mini Almond
Product Information:
Country of Origin: Japan
This cost $2.60 for a pack of 20 odd mini sticks.
Product Information is also readily available.

Packaging: 7
Strangely, the front picture reminds one of cavemen. The packaging is quite attractive.

However, once opened, it is advised that they are to be finished. Unless one stores them properly, the quality of this product will be affected.

Taste: 7
Coming in mini size, it looks delicate rather than a caveman's weapon. The flavour lacks the depth of Glico. The biscuit feels a little empty. Nevertheless, it is still a satisfying snack for almond and chocolate lovers.

Overall: 7
I think this quite a worthy snack to have.

Depending on your budget constraint, and the degree of likeness for chocolate sticks as afternoon snacks, Lotte or Glico or Meiji with a range of prices, is for the budget-conscious or the die-hard snack lovers. Basically, you pay what you get applies quite well here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gastroliterary 19: Country Manna

General Information:
A small restaurant situated in the 2nd floor of the many shophouses around Serangoon Garden. Country Manna, the restaurant chain which claims to serve country-style western cuisine.

Food: 5
Impression was mediocre. Sauce was too salty, meat was overcooked, carrots were too tough and potatoes tasted bland. Not exactly, a disaster but the pasta with stewed beef was relatively well-done that functioned as a redeemable factor for this meal.

Service: 5
Singapore's campaign of remaking of service came to my mind. I thought this place really need a makeover. Timing of food was awkward as the appetiser came just immediately before the main course after a long hungry wait. Staff were forgivably young and probably lacked of any formal training.

Ambience: 6
The atmosphere was not exactly a old, cosy country style. Instead, it felt dilapidated. It overlooks the more crowded streets in Serangoon Gardens was likely to be the only attractive selling point.

Overall: 5
Amounting to $20 a person should not be considered cheap but the experience felt so. A revisit will most likely happen on a gun-point. However, it must be noted that it rivals Jack's Place anytime where the experience was no less than a tragedy; closed to the extend of casting nightmares.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Gastroliterary 18: Japanese Cuisine iii

Nara Japanese Restaurant
Visited: 13/08/2005
Location: Novena Area, Thomson Road

I cannot help but to mark this restarant with respect with the celebrated Matsuo. Although it may have distorted my vision for judgments, nevertheless the view of this restaurant is objective enough.

Food: 7
Green tea was moderately good, at no extra charges. The restaurant start luring the customers with wonderfully fresh, raw, crunchy vegetables as a great starter, however with the embedded cost of $5, to be discovered after the meal, might not be pleasing to many customers.
Salmon Teriyaki ($15): Mistake. The dish was cooked in a Chinese style, close to a coffee shop version. It was totally unexpected and it made such a nasty disappointment.
Mix Tempura ($18): This is close to Matsuo's standard; meaning that it was a joy in biting into the crispy flour mixture while revealing the fresh tender prawn, still sizzling hot, yet oiless and guiltess.
Gyoza ($8): With a total of 6 pieces, the menu indicated 'home-made'. Rather it tasted closer to 'supermarket' than 'home'.
Sushi ($30): Just 8 pieces, this had better be good. The seafood was fresh enough, though the rice portion was not too generous.

Service: 7.5
Polite staff who greeted their customers as they entered. However, they should allow the customer to finish their food before clearing the plates. Maybe they just wanted to look busy.

Ambience: 7.5
The restaurant could easily gotten an 8 grade if there was not a loud blaring sounds system blasting irritating noises to my ears. I yearned for a quiet environment that matches the modern and cosy interior.

Overall: 7
A dinner meal for one can easily cost over $30. Not exactly worth it unless one appears for lunch which should be below $20. Unsuspectingly, I chose to look at the prices for lunch time and appeared during dinner time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Spa Online 6: Quenching The Money Thirst

Having money thirsting dreams? Working through the night, not that you actually like it but the monetary drive just push you on? Did you drool over the rolling numbers on your next lottery lucky pick?
Here is a test:

Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world. Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here’s your chance to find out. Just enter your annual income into the box below and hit ‘show me the money’

I had mine tested. You are in the top 14.72% richest people in the world.There are 5,116,610,608 people poorer than you.How do you feel about that? A bit richer we hope.

I thought I did well. This means that I am actually happy that people are actually poorer than me? Anyway, I wish I had similar achievements in other areas as well. However, a 14.71% should sound better instead of the lowly 14.72%. That shall be my target for the week?

Well, maybe the deeper soul needs to be evaluated more than anything else.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Durian Daily 17: China's National Day

China's premier vows to build prosperous society in National Day speech

BEIJING : Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao kicked off the country's week-long National Day holiday on Friday, pledging to build a prosperous society and promote peaceful reunification with Taiwan. "Standing now at a new starting point of history, our country is marching forward toward the grand goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all round way," Wen told a crowd of dignitaries at the Great Hall of the People.
Full Story

Today is the great founding day for the modern People's Republic of China. Durian Daily, unfortunately is unaware of this great day until the newspaper is flipped, the television is watched. The news press big gigantic prints and the repetition of the Nation's National anthem in the background of a news report. Anything that fails to go unnotice fails. Being ignorant about National Day in all forms, Durian Daily fails to continue to be so due to the heavy media coverage on a land faraway, yet close to the heart. It just seems like the island nation is about to blast fireworks in hail and celebrations for their giant counterpart.

Durian Daily 16: Home of the Emmys

Channel 5, a self-proclaimed "Home of the Emmys" television channel. Does 'home' sounds suspicious to you?
Home: A building where one owns and belongs to.
House: A building where one can buy.

Maybe the intelligent reader should question which of the Emmys does Channel 5 really own? In other words, which of the Emmys belongs to Channel 5? Durian Daily, after much research, have discovered that the results is null. This means that those Emmy shows are essentially being bought using money and then telecast to the viewers. Since house is a building that one can buy and not necessary belong to, "Home of the Emmys" should be changed to "House of the Emmys".

Further probing would discover that Felicity Huffman probably did not know the existence of Channel 5. Neither would this Emmy Award winner from the Winning Series of "Desperate Houswives", be aware that she has a home here. Put it in this way, she probably does not bother whether she has or has not a home in the tiny island nation.

Like Lost, reality and virtual are no longer distinct.

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