Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kam Fook (3) - Chatswood

Yes - twas, as promised, my third experience of a wedding banquet at Kam Fook Chinese Restaurant within this year (and hopefully, the last).

What was different between this wedding and the previous two?
The married couple was younger.
The banquet had around 320-350 people.
And the banquet food was taken up a notch - more prestigious than the other two.

Honestly though, most of the food was the same. Food quality-wise, it was possibly the best of the three. Service-wise, it had to be the worst. Not only did our waitress look as though someone was treading on her toes the whole night, she also expected us, the guests, to distribute and pack the dishes for her. All she wanted to do was just stand there. *sighz* Guess they don't get paid very much.

So first off, the suckling pig. It was same same.

sliced bbq suckling pig with jellyfish

The next was the deep fried crab claw (as opposed to the "seafood pockets" of previous). This was actually pretty good. Though you had that artificial fish ball type feel (which, by the way, I love), it also had a stringy REAL CRAB feel to it. I was quite taken back and was almost ready to forgive the fact that it didn't come with mayo.

deep fried crab claw

This next dish was an example of food "taken up a notch". Stir fried king prawns with veges and macadamia nuts. Prawns were pretty good - big and tasty. What didn't sit so well as the macadamia nuts (and I got plentiful of them). The thing is - prawns by itself = YUM. Macadamia nuts = YUM. But put them together??? This is probably why serving whole macadamia nuts with prawns is rarely seen. Atleast crushed macadamias would have been more fitting? But I guess having lots of macadamia nuts in the dish makes it more "prestigious" no?

king prawns with veges and macadamia nuts

The next is a common one - sharks fin soup with shredded chicken and dry bamboo shoot. Yes - it was the same as the previous ones and nice pretty much every time :)

sharks fin soup

Similarly with the lobsters - same. Lots. Good if you're a lobster fan.

"supreme" braised lobsters

Then came the sliced abalones and muschroom in oyster sauce. This was slightly more interesting. As we added an extra person to our table - making a total of 14 people, they only had enough bowls of abalone to serve 13. Nonetheless, without too much fuss, they manages to pull off the extra bowl a good 5-10 minutes later. Pretty much out of nowhere and drenched in oyster sauce. Makes you wonder. Either the kitchen keeps spares, intending to eat them themselves, or... perhaps... just perhaps, they yank it from the other wedding banquet that was going on upstairs LOL

abalone and mushroom in oyster sauce

Then was the coral trout. Again - was the same. Pretty well cooked.

coral trout

Instead of the usual non-crispy skinned chicken, we got crispy skinned roasted pigeons instead. A good change for some. A cruel change for others. And no - despite what my partner believes, pigeon is very much different to quail.

roasted pigeons

Steamed fresh prawn rice in lotus leaf and braised e-fu noodles were then served. Interestingly enough, you don't get a rice and a noodle each (as you normally do) but rather, we had to choose. Rice OR noodles. Maybe it was just because our disiniterested waitress couldn't be bothered to dish out more.

"fresh" prawn rice in lotus leaf

braised e-fu noodle

Finally there's the sweet red bean soup, home-made chinese cookies and a large seasonal fruit platter.

In all - there was some variety in the food which was different to the previous two banquets. However, everything did taste pretty much the same. My friend, a virgin to Chinese wedding banquets, was already sick of the taste half way through. "Everything just tastes the same, like they use the same sauce and everything" said she. Many more to come though, thinks I.

Kam Fook Seafood Restaurant
Shop 600, Level 6,
Westfield Shoppingtown,
28 Victor Street,
Tel: (02) 9413 9388

Mitzu - Macquarie Centre


Hungry but with a sore throat. Sushi? Yeh - why not.

The instant we stepped into Mitzu and was told to wait by a Korean waiter, we realised that we were not in for authentic Japanese food. Nonetheless, the many customers despite the somewhat grand prices must mean that this sushi train ought to be alright.

My partner plucked the soft-shell crab roll off the conveyor. This large sushi had an interesting mix of soft-shell crab, tuna salad, philly cheese, spanish onion and cucumber. Because the sushi piece was so large, it inevitably fell apart under my bite - meaning that I had one mouthfull of tuna salad sushi, one mouthful of soft-shell crab sushi and one mouthful of philly cheese. So umm... interesting. I'm sure it would have tasted nicer if had altogether :)

soft-shell crab roll

We also tried the California roll. With lots of cucumber, this sushi was very crunchy and healthy tasting. Not bad - but sometimes I do like the traditional lots of crabstick and avocado feel.

California roll

Another one was the crumbed chicken and avocado roll. This was just average. I do however, like how all the sushi's were tightly rolled and unless they were too big to fit in a mouthful, did not tend to fall apart.

Chicken avocadod sushi

One of my favourite sushis is the seaweed boat. This, honestly, tastes pretty much the same everywhere. Can't really go wrong as all restaurants probably get the seaweed from the type of frozen box.

Seaweed salad ship

This is the last sushi we had. Like a sushi sandwich stacked up - rice, chicken katsu, avocado, rice, seaweed, rice, then prawn and avocado on top.

prawn and avocado sandwich sushi

Whilst I was taking a photo of this, we got told by one of the waitresses that photos were forbidden. Hence, like any responsible foodblogger, we decided to leave - hungry or not. Why eat anything if you're not allowed to snap it?

Food - 7/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 27/40

Shop 410 Macquarie Centre
Herring Road (Cnr Waterloo Road)
North Ryde
NSW 2113
tel: (02) 9887 2988

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating our way through Singapore

Qu: How much food can 2 people eat in 12 hours?
Answer: A lot~

My partner and I decided to take a weekend trip to Singapore/Malaysia. As Qantas flights out of Australia to Singapore just so happen to take off in the afternoon, we landed around 8pm Singapore time.

After checking into our hotel, our lovely Singaporian friend picked us up and drove us to Makansutra Gluttons Bay Hawker Centre. Gluttons Bay. The name is very suiting. My local friend told us that the hawkers at Gluttons were all the best of the best seafood hawkers around Singapore, invited to congregate in this one cool location, right next to a posh area and on the esplanade mall. We are talking a cheap waterfront dining, open air, clean environment with super awesome food. (Unfortunately the dimmed environment and the fact that it was raining made my photos pretty awefulness >.<)
Gluttons Bay Hawker Centre

So between the three of us, what did we eat?

Unfortunately, I have very low chili tolerance whilst my partner generally doesn't find anything chili enough. Luckily for me, my Singaporian friend was so super nice to me and against my partner's wishes, ordered a Pepper crab (instead of a Chili Crab) and dumbed down the chili levels on everything else.

The Pepper crab was very very awesome. Infused with peppery, oniony and herby flavour, the crab meat itself, was actually really really sweet. Mmm super fresh, hotly wokked crab. YUM. We also ordered a sting ray - yest, the fishy creature that has a killng potential. This was interesting. To be honest, because I don't take chili very well, all I tasted was pretty much - Chili. However, it tasted somewhat like a chili fillet of fish LOL. Another chili dish was the Kang Kong (no photos of this as all were blurry). This had that "wok-air" that many canto people adore. Tasted pretty good (but a touch to chili for my liking :P).

Pepper Crab

Sting Ray

Now onto some non-chili dishes. My favourite of the night must have been the Or Luak (oyster omelette). This was OMG deliciousness~ Must be eaten fresh and hot, the oysters were plump and juicy and bits of the egg was just charred to give off a slightly crisp texture whilst other bits still moist and juicy. Sooo soo soo nice. I reckon I could eat a whole plate myself. A most unusual dish was this plate of shell-fish. Whilst just boiled in water, you're supposed to pry these little buggers open with your fingers, then use a toothpick to pick out the meat, dip it in some chili sauce, and go chomp chomp. These little shell-fish creatures tasted similar to a pipi - only slightly smaller and more plump and juicy. Not bad - but takes a bit of practice before you know exactly where to put your fingernails to pry them open.

Oyster Omelette

shell fish

To help me through the chili dishes, we all had a sugar cane juice with lemon. This was midly sweet worked heavenly to chill my burning tongue. A must have with these dishes I think, even if you are a chili-lover.

sugarcane lemon

After a filling and satisfying meal, we decided to chill like Singaporians do. What this involved was heading down to Arab Street and getting on with some Shisha action. Arab street seems to be filled with carpet and material stores by day, and lotza lotza lotza shisha stores by night. A shisha is like an oriental tobacco pipe. The science behind it is really quite complex. There is coal up the top and that heats up the tobacco below it, then there are different "flavours" you can have with the tobacco. For the night, a rose-mint flavour was chosen. The smoke then travels down, past the flavour bit, then a bit lower, where something happens and the water filters the smoke... then travels back up into the tube where you inhale the flavoured smoke. To really get the most out of it, you're supposed to suck in with your ab muscles then

shisha pipe

According to my friend, this recreation is engaged by many young adults - just a place to chill and catch up after work or uni. Although smoking tobacco through this pipe eliminates all the "bad stuff" from cigarettes (eg. tar and other impurities), one shisha is equivalent to roughly 20 ciggies. Given that one of my Singaporian friends go Shisha-ing around twice a week, this hobby can't really be that good for you. Interesting enough, the nicotine from this shisha's tobacco was unable to quench my friend's nicotine cravings as he lit up the moment we stepped out from the shop.

After this chill session, it was around 1.30am. What better than to head for some 24 hr shops that offer pretty much any food under the sun? Honestly, this place had indian, malaysian, desserts galore, and broaded out to include foods such as steaks and pasta. We decided to order some prata and a few drinks.

My friend ordered for us in an language I failed to understand. I picked up odd words which seemed to be what we were consuming. Our drink was the "milo dinosaur". Weird name? Awesome drink. It's the dream milo drink for every kid. Milo thoroughly infused throughout the milk then inch thick milo floaties on top and finished with ice. This drink was OMG. Would probably give anyone a sugar high and when eaten with my "Tisu", is probably able to give anyone diabetes.

Milo Dinosaur

The roti tisu is essentially super crisp pastry covered (or should I say smothered) with sugar and rolled into a cone shape. This thing is SOOO addictive. My friend recommended that I wrap some sugar in it too. It's like sweet and savoury and crispy and crunchy all at the same time~ And rolling sugar in it is super not recommended when the piece you've ripped off is smothered with sugar crystals already~ LOL. I was on such a high by the end of this meal, albiet the time of the night.

roti Tisu

My friend also ordered us a "plain" and a roti prata with egg in it. All is eaten with indian curry.

prata with egg

plain prata

We then headed back to our hotel for a few hours of shut-eye before we headed for the Maxwell Centre, a 24hr Hawker Centre. Though open 24 hours, not all of the stalls were open when we were there. We decided to play it safe and gave the frog-legs congee a skip. To be even more safe, we purchased our food from places with awards or newspaper articles stuck on their window.

Maxwell Centre

First off was our deep-fried oyster cake. This was umm... interesting. Deep-fried, cakey feel with peanuts on top, oysters were scattered many throughout this round cake of dough along with some herbs and other fillings. I found this interesting because the filling was somewhat gooey inside, but then it was wrapped by the bready-cakey substance and outer-layered by the deep-brown crisp skin.

Oyster Cake

My partner also ordered a chicken curry noodle. Again purchased because of media recommendations, my partner said that this noodle was pretty good and currily potent (but perhaps not spicy enough). The chicken was also tender and smooth. A bargain really, at these hawker stalls.

chicken curry noodles

I headed straight for the most popular congee stall. And boy was this store populated. I waited a whole half an hour or more before I got to the head of the line. I opted for the century egg congee (S$2.50/$3/$4). I think the difference between the three prices is the amount of century egg. I opted for the $3 and my bowl was filled with century egg. The $4 one must be century egg overload! I also decided to be more adventurous and agreed to have a raw egg popped on the bottom of my bowl. Luckily, the egg cooked perfectly with the bubbling super hot congee. To make the congee even more flavoursome and enticing, it was topped with pork floss, fried onion and shallots. I think I'm craving for this as I type. So worth a plane ticket to Singapore just for this.

Century Egg Congee

After this filling meal, we taxied to Orchard Street - shopping central. As time presses us, we were unable to shop but we did round a food court at ION. It was hugeee! If I wasn't so full, I would have loved to eat everything~! Luckily, my partner - the sensible one - pulled us off to the airport so we wouldn't miss our flight to Malaysia.

At the airport, we realised that we had yet to try the famous Kaya Toast. So the sensible foodies in us plonked down in a kaya-toast specialty restaurant at the airport.

We ordered a french-toast kaya, an icy-blended coffee, a sweetened hot coffee, and a couple of icecream toasts. The french-toask kaya was less impressive than I had anticipated. It was soggy and overly sweet - even with very minimal kaya. And exactly what are we meant to do with the egg??? The coffees, however, were awesome. I think I'm in love with super strong, super sweet coffee :P

hot sweetened coffee

ice blended coffee


Kaya French Toast

The icecream toasts were ... umm... exactly icecream and toast. LOL. I didn't think this matched very well, but it wasn't awful. Thinly sliced crisp toast and a thick slab of icecream - it tasted similar to the korean spongecake icecreams you get from korean marts.

icecream toast

And lastly - check out my junk food pick from Singapore~ It's Snoopy chips!!! Soooo cute and adorable~ :P

Snoopy Chips!