Archives for category: my good book

Alphonso mangoes
I did not realise that I was surrounded by closet alphonso mango lovers until I happened to order a box of them while making an order online for my Lock & Lock airtight containers (curiously my suppliers of Lock & Lock containers also sell boxes of mangoes) . I started to get requests for add-on orders from my mango loving colleagues! And when the boxes of mangoes arrived, I received moans from others for not letting them know I was ordering in the first place. Apparently, alphonso mangoes are everyone’s secret favourite mangoes! (Ok, at least by those who sit around me in the office!)

Alphonso mangoes
What is so special about Alphonsos mangoes?
They are Continue reading >>

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Slicing Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
A trip to Spain is incomplete without having Jamón, which is the Spanish dry-cured ham. You can just see them everywhere- bars, restaurants and markets. They look a bit like the Chinese version on the outside but while we cook ours, the Spanish do not. They love pairing it with melon which is sweet and moist.

In the famous Boqueria Market in Barcelona, I was curious to see the large price differences among all the Jamón, which ranged from Euro 35/kg to Euro176.60/kg. I decided to do a taste test between the most expensive Jamón, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota , and the cheapest one, Jamón Serrano Bodega.

Spanish Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Sample 1 (photo above):
The meat was dark red and beautifully marbled with fat, with a subtle golden colour. It was moist and smooth in the mouth. The fat was soft and rich in flavour with a hint of sweetness. It felt like it melted in my mouth! It was not too salty which was fantastic! Amazing! Continue reading about Jamón blind tasting >>

The Queen of Hearts, the Red Queen, the White Queen, the Rabbit and the King of Hearts, Dining with Alice
Just what happened to the characters in Alice’s adventures when they were no longer needed in her dreams?

I went with five friends to find out as they hosted a special banquet at Elsing Hall, Norfolk. This banquet, Dining with Alice, was organised by Artichoke and Sky Arts, as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Alices looking across the Lake, Dining with Alice
Built in 1470, Elsing Hall‘s landscape and architecture formed a great backdrop for the evening. On the way to the dinner reception, we bumped into Alice who was hiding in the maze. We also saw a lot of long dining tables, reminscent of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, scattered around the beautiful gardens. ‘Is this where we are going to eat?’ I wondered with excitement. {If you are going to attend, stop reading now as I am about to reveal some of the surprises}

Dining with Alice
The Queens and Kings arriving, Dining with Alice
While we waited for the Royals to appear (photo above), we nibbled on the Plungent Fleck (Kettle game chips and Victorian Dips, photo below) with the Hendrick’s Buck (Gin and Ginger Ale) in hand. Continue reading >>

Pineberries
I was curious and excited when I first saw these white beauty- pineberries. They are about the same size as wild strawberries, except that they look like their albino cousins. White body and red seeds- very odd looking indeed!

I like how they played tricks on my senses. While they looked like strawberries, pineberries actually carried an amazing sweet fragrance similar to that of pineapples. This aroma was even stronger at room temperature.

Just when I thought they would taste like pineapples, I was wrong again. Continue reading >>

4 stars
Gilbert Scott is 2 Michelin starred chef Marcus Wareing’s second restaurant. Situated in the newly renovated St Pancras Hotel, which was originally opened by Queen Victoria in 1873, the restaurant is named in honour of the building’s original architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Dining area at Gilbert Scott by Marcus Wareing at St Pancras Hotel
He apparently designed the hotel just before the internal plumbing system was invented. Not long after the hotel was opened, it was deserted by guests as people preferred not to share toilets. It was then left unoccupied and gradually deteriorated for over 70 years.

I am glad to see that there is now modern plumbing at the restaurant. The dining area has been beautifully restored and is filled with great historic features. The huge windows drew a lot of natural light into the double height space. It is grand and charming.

Brown and Forrest salmon at Gilbert Scott by Marcus Wareing at St Pancras Hotel
Like Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Gilbert Scott is set to celebrate British cooking. Though unlike Heston who spent a long time exploring old traditional British recipes, Marcus focuses on British regional culinary history and stays closer to the original recipes. Its website claims that they are ‘subtly modernising traditional dishes to unusual effect’. Did it live up to its claims? Read the rest of this entry »


The Riding House Café is the third project by the team behind Village East and The Garrison. We went on its official first day of opening. (Btw, 50% off food bill till May 2, 2011!)

It was an interesting cross between a bar, a pub and a restaurant.
This concept can be observed from the layout of the space as well as on the menu. On the left of the entrance is the restaurant (photo below), with the bar (2nd photo), wooden seating (like a pub) and a big shared dining area on the right.

Restaurant at the Riding House Cafe
Bar at at The Riding House Cafe
The menu was created to allow flexible ordering. Instead of the usual ‘starters’, we were presented with a selection of 17 small plates, which cost £3, £4 or £5, to choose from. I can imagine this is fantastic for customers at the pub, bar food to munch on with a glass of drink. Continue reading>>

Kimchi at Arang

I lost count how many times people asked me where they should go for Korean food in SOHO, London. I always recommend Arang and remind them not to go to Koba, which gets 10 times as much press, costs more but is not as good.

Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear) at Arang
My favourite starter is Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear, photo above). The waiter usually mixes all the ingredients in front of you.

Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear) at Arang
At Arang, the beef strips were served a little (just a little) frozen. This was intentional, not a mistake (as I have tried this dish many times here). They were of a similar size to the pear strips, which in my opinion contributed to its success. The sweetness of the pear complimented amazingly well with the beef. The raw egg yolk connected the 2 of them together and created a smooth sensation. Continue reading about other Korean dishes like the classic Korean barbecue >

Tilting teapot- filtering position
This teapot looks weird and wrong but I love it. It reminds me of the one in Beauty and the Beast, except this one actually can make me a cup of tea. Its comic looks actually comes with a functional design.

Tilting teapot- brewing position
When it lies horizontally, it is at brewing position (photo above) – tea leaves are mixed with hot water. When the brewing time is up, I then put the teapot in its tilted position (top photo). The built-in filter inside separates the leaves from the tea (photo below). The tea leaves are kept clear from the tea, so your tea does not stew. Continue reading >>

Matcha Azuki (Matcha ice-cream with agar jelly, rice dumplings, red beans and matcha shaved ice) at Candy Cafe, London

I first visited Candy Cafe nearly 1.5 years ago. But it is only until recently that I decided to write about it. Why? Because there is a new place called Bubbleology soon to open near it. As its name suggests, its selling point is bubble tea , which is also served at Candy Cafe (in fact, 33 different types of them!) What the latter does not have is the former’s big budget in marketing and branding. I feel that I should say something about this humble 1st floor cafe, located at Macclesfield Street in Chinatown.

What is bubble tea? Bubble tea or pearl tea (as called in Hong Kong), is a sweetly flavored tea drink originally from Taiwan. Most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice blended versions of the drink are also available, usually in fruit flavors. Bubble teas usually contain small pearls of tapioca or sago called “boba”. These teas are shaken to mix the ingredients, creating a foam on the top of some varieties, hence the name.

Menu at Candy Cafe, London
Candy Cafe serves a diversed range of desserts that are popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Bubble tea is just one of them. Continue reading >>

After a great 3- course meal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, I did not expect that I could eat another dessert an hour later, until I walked past Kula.

handmade Swedish waffle cones at Kula
Kula were clever- they left a basket full of waffle cones outside for people to try. They looked yummy! I felt peckish instantly. As soon as I looked up, I saw a curious rotary waffle making machine inside. That was it- I was hooked. I picked up a waffle piece and went in to watch. (What a better way to eat and watch people making waffles at the same time?)

rotating waffle device in action at Kula
It was therapeutic to watch the lady making the waffle cones. She was skillful and the rhythm of her hand movements was like a mini-performance. She could finish 6 waffle cones in 4 minutes! I had no idea what Swedish waffles are but for the first time, the waffle cones made me want to try the ice-cream! (normally it is the other way round!). Continue reading about the waffles and ice-cream, with special video >>