Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bread Kingdom, CBD MELB

My previous workplaces have denied me the luxury of being surrounded by food temptations and having recently relocated to a more central spot, the current options are endless. Some days I will get my sweet fix and other days, perhaps a pick me up coffee from down the road.

Not a big fan of waiting for the trains to arrive but when most shops/cafes close a bit later, I can easily pop by for a takeaway and off I go in the nick of time to the train station.

I am obsessed with Bread Kingdom's baked goods and having tried a few other Asian bakeries within a few weeks period (yes, I am on a mission >:), I personally feel that their products are worth the extra calories.

Custard bun - packed with a lovely vanilla scented custard. I do like my Asian type of buns but am not a fan of buns that are too airy/ porous because it makes me feel cheated in a way. Bread Kingdom's buns were fluffy and moderately compact to my liking :)

Potato cake - not much flavour here but still a pretty good piece of sponge cake layered with freshly whipped, smooth cream.

Green tea cake - green tea flavour is missing but again, kudos to a well made piece of cake.

Coffee swiss roll - I have been on a roll lately (hahaha geddit?) and foun

Fresh cream cake - for those wanting a lighter finish to a meal or who are not big on bold flavours, this is the ideal piece to grab.

Mocha cake - deliciously infused with caffeine and one that I am a big fan of :)

Bread Kingdom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Maxims Cakes and Pastry, CBD MELB

Quest for a favourite Asian bakery continues with a revisit to Maxims Cakes and Pastry, an establishment that has been around for some time and a highly popular one too due to its strategic location in the heart of Chinatown.

Stocking both freshly baked buns and cakes, the true gem of Maxims are its egg tarts and wife biscuits. Having had those two before from previous visits, I can vouch for them and have seen both these items being sold out on a few occasions.

Custard bun - the filling was vibrant in colour and flavour but sadly, this was let down by the bun's dry texture and lack of presentation. Not sure what's the deal with the little spike on it.

Mango swiss roll cake - I love this cake a lot and wanted to purchase the entire roll but sadly, they don't sell it by the roll :( Balanced in terms of sweetness and thickness of the whipped cream, the mango may have been canned produce but heck, no qualms whatsoever.

Chestnut cake - again, the cake texture here is pretty good although the chestnut filling could have fared better.

Rainbow swiss roll cake - a pretty kitchen invention incorporating various flavours such as pandan, taro, chocolate and coffee. A little too much cream but still something I would order again. A little pricey at $13 but worthwhile if sharing amongst family and friends. Costs about $3 for a measly slice anyways.

Maxims Cakes and Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mugen Ramen & Bar, CBD MELB

WL brought up this restaurant a few months back and being packed full of customers that night, we didn't manage to get in unless we waited for a decent amount of time (and we all know how hangry I can get at times). I am no quitter and seized the opportunity when WL trusted me to make a wise decision on what to have for dinner.

This time round, WL rang and booked a few hours in advance and despite arriving slightly earlier, we were seated after waiting a few minutes for a table to become available.

Chips with green laver and salt - double fried me thinks.

Wagyu tataki - seared wagyu served with yuzu mashed potatoes, spring onions and ponzu sauce. A creative dish pairing acidity and sweetness against a thin layer of wagyu.

Chicken Nanban - deep fried chicken thigh coated in sweet and sour sauce, served with tartare sauce. WL was very proud that he ordered this, seeing as we both liked it. A little greasy towards the bottom of the plate but still deliciously worth all the calories.

Miso ramen - served with chashu, bean shoots, pork mince, seaweed and half an onsen egg. Rich, flavourful broth drenching strands of handmade ramen which had a slight al dente finish to it.

Wafu tsukemen - dashi and soy broth served along a plate of thick handmade noodles. For those unfamiliar, noodles are meant to be dipped into the thick broth and slurped the broth bowl. Having had a pretty good version in Tokyo, I daresay this one faired pretty well in comparison, if you don't mind the noodles being served slightly warmed. After finishing the noodles, we were given a little jug of dashi stock to dilute the thick broth into a light soup. WL was overzealous with emptying the little jug, probably thinking it's akin a cup of tea hehe. Nevertheless, a very flavourful bowl of broth it was.

Mugen Ramen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Korean popcorn chicken recipe

Taught by a Korean friend many moons ago, I picked up a few tips and tricks for cooking simple Korean dishes and have made a mental note that gochujang is utmost essential is just about every single dish.

After flipping through a few pages of Korean Bapsang's page, I stumbled upon this recipe and had a strong urge test it out myself. Very easy and super delish:)

2 pieces of chicken thigh fillets, sliced into bite sized pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 cup corn flour
Oil for deep frying

1. Marinate chicken overnight with the above ingredients, minus the oil and corn flour.
2. Heat oil, ready for deep frying. Evenly coat chicken pieces with corn flour and fry until cooked.
3. Set aside.

Sauce ingredients:
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp gochujang
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

3. Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and pour into a flat pan. Allow to slightly thicken, maybe 1-2 minutes, before tossing in cooked chicken pieces.
4. Garnish with roasted peanuts

Monday, August 21, 2017

Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ, CBD MELB

As much as I love my hearty meals, I do lean towards fancier options from time to time, mostly for it's quieter atmosphere, allowing my "soft" voice to be heard by the crowd (let's say a maximum of 3 people).

Being located on the quieter side of Little Bourke Street, said friend and I could easily catch up, having not seen him for a couple of years. Reservations are a must here and the restaurant can get very packed after 7pm.

Side dishes are a must in any Korean restaurant.

Scallops and chilli pork belly - Sadly, scallops shriveled after being cooked on the hot plate and even more depressing to note that it costs $24.60 for 9 pieces :( Chilli pork belly was average and at $18.60 for a small serve, I am not sure if I would order it again in the future. Good quality pork pieces tho.

Soybean paste soup with seafood - perhaps said friend and I have some unfortunate luck as even the seafood pieces in this bowl of soup shriveled to pea sizes. Soup was decent and again, nothing to shout about.

Not the most affordable Korean BBQ place in Melbourne and I was still feeling peckish after we left :/

Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Grand Taipei Bakery, Box Hill MELB

First bakery I have visited within the lunch period last weekend and one that has been, apparently, around before I was even born. Deeply rooted within the Box Hill community, this bakery serves a decent range of savoury dishes in addition to their already popular selection of baked goodies.

The dining area is suited for small crowds and reminded me of a breakfast "cha chaan teng" experience that I was accustomed to in Hong Kong. A steady stream of customers poured into the bakery, each customer purchasing at least $20 worth of baked goods and some even walked out with at least two loaves of fluffy soft baked bread along with a couple of boxes containing glistening, baked pastries.

Chinese donut with omelette - I am not the type of person who craves for oily, fried items for breakfast but this is an exception. The combination of fried chinese donut enclosed by a thin layer of omelette sprinkled with chopped chives was addictive, especially when it briefly meets a semi sweet and salty soy dipping sauce.

Meatballs with homemade noodles - the sister wanted something comforting and this was her choice on the menu. Meatballs tasted homemade although could be improved on in terms of flavour. Noodles were cooked al dante, retaining a chewy yet soft texture. Broth was mildly flavoured and more suited for those opting for lighter meals.

Pineapple and Chinese melon slice - both types of fruit were made into a sticky, sweet jam consistency before being rolled into a crunchy, crumbly pastry.

Taro bun -

Custard bun, taro swiss roll, red bean bun and peanut cake. I loved every single item that I have bought and kudos for having a soft texture. Plus points for costing less than $2 each although I do think it would fare better with more filling stuffed into each of them:)

Definitely will be back for their breakfast items and have been notified that I should have tried their pork floss roll. Argh, next time it is.

Grand Taipei Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Carrington Cake Shop, Box Hill MELB

Cake season is just around the corner and having had my fair share of rich, decadent cakes, I was struck by a surge of excitement as I am now inspired to taste test Asian bakeries in search for a different perspective.

First up would be heading to Box Hill where just about every corner of the suburb screams oriental. The bakery's front is roughly the size of a medium sized bedroom and so, can be quite crammed if the site gets filled with customers.

With only a small corner for bread and sweet or savoury buns, the rest of the bakery is used for their cake displays as well as a fridge for cakes that customers have ordered. And just like most Asian establishments, cash is the only method of payment accepted.

Bought a custard bun and a half and half polo style bun that's partially filled with taro. Good amount of custard in the bun although it is slightly missing the freshly baked aroma, perhaps because it was in the afternoon by the time we arrived. On the flip side, buns here are definitely cheaper compared to other commercialized bakeries.

Pandan sponge cake and orange sponge cake - a little dry and could probably fare better with a bit more cream layered between the sponge layers. Pandan flavour was faint in my humble opinion but again, perhaps could be different had I bought a whole cake that would have been freshly prepared?

Carrington Cake Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ramen and Dumpling House, Mount Waverley MELB

Both K and I are big fans of dumplings and having been to quite a few familiar eateries with him, I made the executive decision of bringing him to Pinewood where parking and atmosphere wise, it's much more convenient and not as hectic compared to other popular areas.

Service is reasonably quick and prices are affordable for their dumplings and ala carte noodle/ rice dishes although prices for the ala carte savoury dishes could range from $16 to $18.

Pan fried dumplings - options include pork, beef or vegetarian. We had the pork version which was tasty but would have fared better with a bit more filling in the dumpling.

Fried tofu - K enjoyed this dish a lot, not sure if it's because he's been deprived of actual food from his long, tiring shifts at work hehe.

Deep fried squid - K politely asked if I was on a diet to which, clearly I was not, and we went ahead to order this. Good seasoning but the batter can be improved on for an added crunch factor. Wouldn't mind reordering this next time tho.

  Ramen and Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 6, 2017

June-July: Food hauls and lunch boxes

Here are snippets from what's been happening from June to July for yours truly, in no particular order as usual:)

Best hair tie colour combination from H&M

Made strawberry scroll buns and they were delicious after coming out from the oven. Eventually became tougher as the days go by although homemade strawberry jam tasted 10x better than store bought versions.

Usual readings with a cup of tea

Craving for something sinful and indulged in this double coated strawberry magnum ice cream. So good and bad at the same time.

The sister wanted to trial a few sweet treats. Verdict? Raspberry cheesecake kit kat was ok, strawberry wafers were decent and Arnott's lemon crips were the bomb as usual.

Half priced Dove body wash - a different flavour each day.

Homebrand apple pie was err.... a bit flimsy and lacked body, in my opinion, although a cheap option if you are not looking at getting overly attached to any desserts but still need your weekly/ monthly sugar fix.

How would Uniqlo's ultra warm heat tech fare I wonder. A few more weeks before winter ends to try them out!

Bought this purely for its nice maroon shade and that it was on offer. Bonus points for extra fine merino wool quality too.

Baker's delight coffee and date loaf was surprisingly good. I like a bit of coffee scent to wake me up in the morning and this does the trick for me.

My second pair of Asics (first pair was too worn out and had long been discarded). Was initially a little hesitant as it was not on special but after running in them, I daresay their gel cushions reign supreme compared to other brands.

Homemade caramel slice - one of the best ones I have tasted although was a little runnier than what I liked it to be. Was buzzing on a sugar high after I finished one piece.

The start of my lunch box series for those wanting to eat healthier and reduce overspending on meals. Recipes can be found by clicking on the recipe tab on the right side of this page.

Sweet and sour pork balls and braised fish with tofu and vegetables. Loaded with vegetables.

Korean spicy chicken with crushed nuts and braised daikon with minced pork and shittake mushrooms.

Another grateful customer bought me a box of chocolates as a token of gratitude for helping her to certify her documents.

Kung pao chicken and orange chicken.

Oyakodon using leftover chicken and vegetables.

Another massive junk food haul. Maryland chocolate chip cookies were a little too dry and hard for my liking. Green's version fared a little better but by a small margin and had brownie points for a tantalizing orange aroma. Wagon wheels still take the cake home in my books as it's not overly sweet and was balanced in terms of strawberry jam, marshmallow and chocolate. Cadbury's mini rolls were surprisingly good and difficult to stop at just one bite.

WL's mum's homemade curry puffs were one of the better ones I have had and also the healthiest ones.

Apricot and date loaf from Baker's delight. I love how Baker's delight are always generous with their fruit portions although I did find the apricot bits a little sour.

Called in sick on my last week of work and made a banana cake with oat crumble as compensation.

Lost my favourite gym bottle at the gym and sadly, those plastic bottles crushed easily as I tend to chuck them in my bag. Bought a water bottle from Starbucks as not only was it much cheaper compared to other places but also had a pleasing pattern of Melbourne, a gentle reminder that I have finally settled myself well in this city:)

Wagon wheels are the best.

Post gym, covered in sweat and blood.

Pancake parlour's apple pie pancake was yummy, especially when it's been coated with a delectable butterscotch sauce.

Made the best pistachio and almond loaf cake and did not take any proper pictures with it using my camera. Will have to remake this again as it is truly delicious.