Friday, December 30, 2005

Durian Daily 25: Thanks, but no thanks

Everyone loves prizes. So this notice on a particular notice board located in one of the heartlands is vying for attention. Win prizes, everyone will try to be the first to take part! Did you notice that the first prize is a ''Europe Winter Tour''? Isn't that a dream come true especially if you win it? Well, even if it is for one, it is still worthy of trying for that $2000 prize.
I took a closer look. I was totally flabbergasted. ''Excluding air tickets''? What on earth does anyone need a European package tour without air tickets? Even if anyone who wins that first prize, he is going to spend another $2000 on air tickets. It is one of those futile things which is giving out prizes with hidden agendas and that the involved company is so reluctantly in rewarding their customers. Since the company have no intention of truly giving prizes, then it is not at all worthy to take part.
And before I walked off, I noticed that instead of air tickets, they are replacing them with the the creative ''Chingay tickets'', moreover they make it come in 2 pairs. Thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gastroliterary 27: Asian iii

Hung Kang Teochew Restaurant, located at North Canal Road or near Chinatown.
Date: 28/08/2005
Reservations are recommended.

Food: 6.5
Goose with soy bean sauce ($35) is a recommended dish at this particular Chinese restaurant. The meat was tender with matching sauce and condiments like bean curd and coriander. It was simply a great opening as it was the first dish served. This was followed by fried prawn fritters shortly which was surprising not oily while oozing hot juicy meat within. Subsequently, there were dishes like stewed vegetables, cod fish, scallops. Although not close to disastrous, it turned out to be a little disastrous. There were much complaints about the quantity and the quality of the crayfish turned out to be unimpressive. The main catch was when the bill came. The crayfish for instance, amounted to $50 for less than 10 small-sized crayfish. I am unable to describe it well enough except to use 'disappointment'. The scallops which was pathetic in quantity and could taste no better a street hawker's food store was tagged a pricey $40. It really would be wonderful if the food turned out to be of substantial quality even if the price was high. After much negative remarks, the goose is really a recommended dish.

Service: 6
Service was pretty average here and they charge nothing for their service. Very terribly, just before the finale, a dessert, did not come promptly at all. Even after some complaints, it was not served. The manager was not at all apologetic for delaying their customer's precious time and wrecking their appetite. I would have been more generous in my marks if there was a hint of contrition but there was absolutely none.

Ambience: 7
The restaurant has 2 levels providing a typical Chinese restaurant ambience. There was a faint chinese music in the background which was shortly drowned as the restaurant got filled up.

Overall: 6
I was taken aback when I saw 'Best Restaurant 2005' sign before leaving the restaurant. Overall, the food was considerably costly and the quality they provided was not quite up to expectation. The 'Best Restaurant' tag can no longer be trustworthy other than another commercial gimmick. An interesting note, however, must be made was that, there was a welcome sign indicating a list of guests expected on that day.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Gastroliterary 26: The Italian

In conjunction with the Christmas theme, I have decided to give faithful readers a present of information about a treasure place.

Restaurant Information:
15th October 2005
Casa Roma, located near Sixth Avenue, this restaurant is truly for those who love authentic Italian Food. Or to put it this way, wonderful Italian food! I had been to this restaurant many times, and this being the sixth time. I would still look forward to experience the Italian experience once more.

Indeed I had, on this Christmas eve night, spending a peaceful late night with family away from the partying crowd of the downtown. It had been a rainy day causing temperatures to plummet, providing a rare opportunity to dine in fashionable al fresco style.Is it coincidence that the Italian flag has the 3 Christmas festive colours?

Food: 8
This time round, a salad ($12.50) was orderd. Not so generous in serving portions but generous in freshness and taste.

Seafood Pizza ( $18). I really love pizza and this place make me die for more. At $18, one can imagine how similar the price when compared to Pizza Hut. Of course, this is real Italian pizza, so the crust is much thinner than Pizza Hut. When one talks about the taste, the conventional stuff is unable to put up a fight with the real stuff. The squid, clams and mussels come in satisfying quantity and great quality.

Salmon Pasta ($18) in cream sauce and Black Truffle Pasta ($25) in butter sauce. The cream sauce was rich and filled up the sense of taste. The first encounter with truffle comes with a pleasant welcome. It was a powerful dose of mushroom perfume. With such a small quantity, it is hard to imagine it is able to generate such an overwhelming aroma.

Tiramisu ($6.50) was not as wonderful as the previous visits here. The chef somehow left out the alcoholic part of this dessert.

The Christmas late night supper was simply wonderful and again, it has lived up to the standards.

Service 8.5
Service was mostly terrific; polite and details were taken care of, almost. One of the waitress promised to return to the dining table with some pepper but apparently, it slipped off her mind in the midst of serving other customers. Even after a short walk around the area, we returned to the our car parked in front of this restaurant, we were bidded off by one of the waiter as we quitted the place.

Ambience 7.5
Despite the restaurant being on a small scale, it was still pretty comfortable in it. A casual and warm atmosphere.

Overall 8
After even the sixth visit within a year, I still desire to visit this cosy Italian restaurant very soon. Definitely worth every lira.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Durian Daily 24: Untold stories of Singapore

After the Changi Beach shut down operations, there are still actually homeless people on the streets of wealthy Singapore.
It is unimaginable for a typical Singaporean to comprehend how anyone is able to sleep on the brightly-lited platform, beside a busy bus stop during the early night of 11pm. Neither can Durian Daily understands how can one can fall asleep on the streets.

Durian Daily has decided not to disclose further details as to the whereabouts of this unusual location, fearing that more curious onlookers who would disrupt the man's sounding sleep. Furthermore, it is understandably a crime to be homeless; to sleep on the streets of Singapore. And that causing such an ugly incident to be known to the authorities is also a crime in the view from this sleeping, homeless man. Unless, of course, the man would consider a condemned cell to be his home.

The picture taken is of poor quality, for fear of dreaded consequences of the sleeping man being identified. No one in the correct minimal sense would want the world to know that he is homeless.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Durian Daily 23: Local Newspaper dominated by Chinese News

Durian Daily detected a China-dominated news in the same (freaking) day, right smack on the cover page, in a local newspaper.

There are speculations on China plans to control the world.
It seems that the local media is also not spared from this supremacy of might and influence of this awakening power. The newspaper sections, newly introduced, which focuses on this great country's news, seems not enough at all. Even the other sections, including the spaces on the front page have to give up the space for China's valuable news.

Being now the centre of attention, China is set to expand its influences even greater, and this inexorable. The obsession of the new Chinese fever is set to take the world by storm.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gastroliterary 25: Japanese v: Tomoe

Tomoe Japanese Cuisine
Location: Upper Thomson Road
The restaurant seems a little run-down; requires some renovation. Furnishings seem old-fashioned rather than country nostalgic. We were not very warmly welcomed by the waitress as we stepped into this place. It was not because she was pre-occupied with something, in fact, the restaurant was vacant. I suspect that if we just turned out heads and walked out, she would celebrate with champagne.

We sitted at a comfortable corner and it was time to make the difficult decisions of ordering. The menu was filled with a great variety became more of a hindrance, from set meals to value meals to a range of a la carte. It was only after quite a struggle that, unagi set and tempura udon set was being ordered.

I was surprised that unagi still exist in Singapore. Anyway, not all unagis purchased in Singapore were imported from China. So this piece of unagi must be free from any harmful chemicals, pregnancy pills or carcinogens. It came as a small piece and I took a bite. I was totally impressed by this piece of fish; melts in the mouth and yet is free of any reeking smell. Most importantly, it is free from poisonous pollutants. The tempura and the udon was just passable and leaving any detailed impression failed. Sushi was not exceptionally fresh.

We ordered ika teriyaki to end off the meal, while pairing up with sake. It was indeed a memorable combination; the sublime sake, the chewy ika.
Food: 6.5

There was another waiter. Although he was more polite and provided better service than the waitress, his appearance was an appetite extinguisher. For an objective view, the part on his balding head had to be left out, but it was his rags that he wore was the problem. In contrast, the waitress who was more appropriately dressed, had an attitude that deserves to be sent for a makeover. A total disaster for Singapore, trying to become top in the tourism sector (in fact everything).
Service: 5

The restaurant was considered to be quiet except that the night was spoilt by a screaming child. The place does require some refurnishings, although it was still bearingly comfortable.
Ambience: 6

The total bill came to $60 which was totally acceptable considering the amount of items ordered which include 2 dinner sets, a side dish and alcohol. A second visit would need much second thoughts. It will be quite a shame to note that they won the 'Best Restaurant' awards some years ago.
Overall: 6

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Gastroliterary 24: Melting Pot

It was all joy at this highly anticipated event. A dinner party at the lovely sounding restaurant, Melting Pot, at glamorous Holiday Inn Atrium.

There was a selection of a range of appetisers and desserts to choose from. And they come in unlimited amounts.

The main course, however, was limited to just one precious plate.

The evening was great especially in the quiet setting and the blaze of bright lights of the hotel. However, Melting Pot can certainly improve in many aspects to complement with the eventful night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gastroliterary 23: La Cave

La Cave Restaurant at CHIJMES, basement.
Great opportunity has been bestowed to me, and that I had a chance to dine at this restaurant.
Norwegian salmon with pasta. This dish was quite nicely presented. But the pasta was really horrible. It was worse than a foreign student experimenting with home cooking for the first time. Other than that, it can bypass as acceptable.
The beautiful night scene was obsecured by the overhead shelter.
$25 for a 3 course dinner, located at prime district with relatively good service.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Supermarket Spree 4: Instant noodles

You can also have your own Hokkaido ramen in tropical Singapore. The appearance is really attractive.

The noodle uses 100% Hokkaido wheat. Of course, the additional ingredients shown are only set as examples.

It tasted sweeter than normal instant noodles. A very unusual and suspicious sweetness.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Spa Online 8: Beware not police, but people around

In Singapore, it is very safe because Singaporeans report to the police when they see crime in progress. They dare to tell the truth but they are afraid to show their real faces because they know people will beat them up. If not, their friends or family will quickly hide from them so that the ugly truth of their misbehavings will not be reported to the police. Reporting is a shameless thing, because no Singaporeans want their face to be shown.

In Singapore, it is very safe, as long as you do not show your face when reporting crimes. If you hide your face and only show your black shadow, then other Singaporeans will be kept in the dark. This way, you can continue to report to the police of even more crimes without being found out. So Singapore is very safe.

If you commit a crime, do not let others know about it. Because you do not know which Singaporeans will tell. Even if Singaporeans do not have criminal records, it does not mean they have no crime being committed. It is because they are good at hiding the truth because they know that someone will be spying on them.

But reporting of crimes to the police is also a crime. That is why no one wants to show their face. So in Singapore it is very safe as long as you hide, as long as you do not show your face when reporting crime.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gastroliterary 22: Gastrotragedy

Feds urged to ban fish products from Asia

Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canadians are buying contaminated fish from China and Vietnam, the Consumers' Association of Canada says.

Citing the use of a dangerous fungicide on fish farms, the association wants the federal government to ban the importing of certain fish products from those two Asian countries.

"A cancer-causing banned fungicide, Malachite Green, is being used by fish farmers in some Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and China.'' Bruce Cran, president of the association, said Friday in a release.

"Independent labs tests of these fish purchased at Canadian supermarkets have shown that consumers are being sold these contaminated fish."

In tests done this year by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 43 per cent of farmed fish from Vietnam were contaminated with the cancer-causing agent, the association said in a release.

"This is a stunning number,'' Cran said.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Supermarket Spree 3: Unique Grapes

Khoyo Grapes

They are big and black and emits a strong red wine aroma. Once you stick your teeth into it, the juice ooze out, juice that likens red wine to a great extend.
Do take note of the white residues on the skin. They do not come off with washing but with rubbing using a fabric, the rich black skin of the grapes appear. (Compare the previous photo with the preceding one) Chemical residues left behind? The grape skin comes of with super great ease.The skin has this slight bitter taste. So it is better to remove it and enjoy the flesh filled with the richness of red wine, minus the hangover.

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