Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cafe Soho, Glen Waverley MELB

It's been almost two years since my last visit to Hong Kong and admittedly, I do reminiscence about that one week there. I do have a list of favourite countries which I have visited but my experience there was too good to forget. The bustling city sights of an old and new town mashed on one island is unique but the best bit was getting "lost" inhaling everything that came my way.

A little sad to note that there are not many restaurants and cafes that can capture the Hong Kong essence although one can try, yes? Cafe Soho is a restaurant that serves up quite a few Hong Kong favourites and probably one of the nearest places for me to head to keep my cravings at bay.

Hong Kong style milk tea ~

Fried rice noodle with beef ~ what is with me and this dish whenever I am in need of a pick-me-up? Can't fault this dish despite it not being something that reminds me of Hong Kong haha.

Fried chicken with rice ~ as you may have noticed, the food here is not the most aesthetically pleasing that I have seen but it is hearty food that does not blow a hole in your wallet.

Peanut butter bread with butter ~ I am not sure if this is a Hong Kong addiction but hey, I am a sucker for peanut butter and bread so it's a winner in my books. Probably a good idea to share it too, if you feel guilty about them calories.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bak Kut Teh recipe

I have made this dish a few times before but to my surprise, I have yet to blog about it. And I should as it is a pretty easy dish to make and one that you are meant to leave bubbling away.

1 packet of bak kut teh herb mix (easily available at any Asian grocer)
8 cloves of garlic, smashed
1kg of pork ribs (can be a mix of ribs and meat)
Enough water to submerge the pork in (about 2L?)

1. Blanch the pork pieces in hot water for around 3-4 minutes or at least until the exterior appears cooked.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil.
3. Toss in pork pieces, garlic and the bak kut teh mix.
4. Allow to boil for around 1-2 hours on low heat - until the tea/ herb flavour is evident.
5. Season with soy sauce and salt.

I like to pair this soup mix with bok choy/ choy sum, bits of enoki mushroom, button mushroom, tofu pok (sponge-like texture, perfect for absorbing fluid), steamed rice and a bit of chilli and garlic in soy sauce.

Didn't I say it's simple? And it's also a great for sharing dish:)

Paradise Road, Glen Waverley MELB

Celebrations are joyous events that may give one an excuse to splurge a little. After all, you are only celebrating that event once a year or once in a lifetime so why hold back?

As the hostess of this little feast, I was assigned to scout for good fare that is conveniently located for all of us and I'm sure you can guess where it is - yep, Glen Waverley. Considering that it was a Saturday night as well, bookings are necessary to avoid unwanted frustrations or anxieties.

Thai milk tea ~ most of us would have tried the Taiwanese or Hong Kong version of milk tea which is very similar to the Thai version. However, the Thai version does pack a lot more punch in terms of caffeine, much to my liking.

Fresh Tasmanian oysters with red chilli nahm jim and coriander ~ can't say I am a fan of ordering oysters at restaurants as it is costs more as opposed to purchasing it fresh from the markets. These oysters costs us $9 for 3 oysters. Flavour wise, whilst we enjoyed the nahm jim, the coriander slightly overpowered the delicate oyster taste.

Seafood tom yum ~ a traditional dish that we all liked to order at Thai restaurants. It may look spicy but in my opinion, it was only mildly spicy.

Yam woon sen ~ glass noodles with chicken, seafood and an assortment of vegetables. If you're ordering ala carte and not sharing with friends, this would be the dish to have. It is extremely refreshing and packed with tangy, sweet and slightly spicy flavours to entice your tastebuds. Oh and did I mention that it is also one heck of a healthy dish?;)

Thai pineapple fried rice ~ I am secretly obsessed with fried rice (it's a childhood habit) although I am aware that having too much of it can be a bad thing. This is one of the dishes that the Thais do extremely well. Rice is fried to golden perfection and just like the yam woon sen dish, this one is also packed with veggies and meat.

Masaman beef curry ~ when one has a rice dish at the table, it is only customary to order a curry dish with it. The flavours in this curry are quite mild but the beef pieces here had a nice consistency aka not chewy but soft.

Deep fried whole barramundi with Thai chilli sauce ~ what's a celebration without a fish? Despite being deep fried, the fish was not greasy at all. The drizzle of tangy dressing on top of the fish was refreshing and complimented the blanched vegetables well.

Mango sticky rice ~ seasonally available,  do order this if you get a chance. The amount of sticky rice on the plate is not overwhelming so fret not that it'll be too much to handle. We had a generous amount of fresh, sweet mango pieces on our plate and noted that the coconut cream takes down the sweetness by a notch. A perfect dessert to end the night.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Europe - Sweets in Paris

Prior to setting foot in France, I knew what I was enrolling myself into. Notoriously known for all things sweet, pretty and petite, the French does best at creating edibles that are simply too picturesque to eat. Hence, this warrants for intensive gym sessions and possibly only wearing baggy clothing for sometime.

I will not be badgering you guys with what to do whilst in France but if you would like travelling tips/ notes you are more than welcomed to visit my travelling blog. My intention is to keep this blog filled with yummy posts in the form of restaurant reviews, recipes and new food finds that you may be interested in.

Now back to this francais post. Whilst I have efficiently compiled a list of cafes and bakeries to visit, unfortunately, time was not by our side. Modifications had to be made to ensure that our holiday still is a holiday.

Let's talk about macarons first. In Paris, one cannot walk past Laduree and Pierre Herme without getting anything. Having sampled Laduree in Sydney and Pierre Herme in Hong Kong, I knew that both shops will not disappoint, especially when I am in the land that originated them.

Laduree - despite costing about 2 euros each, we were not disappointed at all. Two beautifully shaped macaron shells enclose the intensely flavoured filling and melts away with each bite. There are so many Laduree outlets around Paris and I like how there's so many options to pick. Highly recommended!

Pierre Herme - there are a few Pierre Herme outlets around Paris but do bear in mind that only two outlets are patisseries (outlet list here). I only managed to sample their Ispahan croissant and would have loved to try out other delights. There's a little Pierre Herme boutique in Galeries Lafeyette so that gave us a chance to grab a box of macarons on our first night! 

Depending on how many macarons you are after, you will be given a box to accommodate them and if you are a bit fussy on the box's design (like me), feel free to let them know. Yes, the macarons are very flavourful and again, has a crisp exterior that is balanced by the moist filling.

Cafe Angelina ~ I wanted to at least have tea time at a Parisian dessert cafe and picked this cafe due to it's prime location. Smacked in Galeries Lafeyette, be sure to visit this place if you are feeling weary after shopping. It is cheaper to takeaway the cakes or macarons, by at least 2 euros per item so this is entirely up to you. 

We tried the Mont Blanc which is a dessert of sweetened, pureed chestnut. The sister found this a little too sweet and overwhelming for her liking but I thought it tasted just right. Would have perhaps went down better with a cup of tea.

Whilst the macarons here may not be as varied in terms of flavour as compared to Laduree or Pierre Herme, they still do serve up good macarons that come in traditional flavours such as raspberry, lemon and chocolate.

L'Eclair De Genie ~ this was a wild card in my boxes as I was never a fan of eclairs. Despite knowing my preference, I still went ahead and purchased a couple. Thank goodness I did as they are delicious and bursting with flavour. Prices range from 6 euros to 8 euros depending on the design and flavour of the eclair. 

An eclair is basically a choux pastry that has cream pipped into it. Which was why I can not understand the fuss about it. L'Eclair De Genie proved me wrong and cruelly made me crave for this whenever I think of eclairs. The proportion of cream to pastry was leaning towards more cream and this gave the otherwise dull eclair a lot of character, depending on the filling. 

Oh and not forgetting to mention that each eclair looks stunning so even if you are not a fan, do waltz by to have a peek.

I have visited Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki's shop in Taiwan and decided to challenge that experience. A stand alone shop just opposite L'Eclair De Genie in Galeries Lafeyette's food gallery, I noticed that a few of his pastries were Japanese inspired such as yuzu and green tea. 

As we were moving around whilst in Paris, I was not comfortable with the idea of keeping them beyond one day. Sadly, I only purchased his green tea and caramel tart (was looking for some croissants!). The caramel sauce nicely cuts through the bitterness of the green tea cream. Tart shell was buttery and not soggy despite holding the liquid-y caramel sauce in it.

The sister and I stayed along Rue des Martyrs for a night as we await our transition to another country and this gave us an opportunity to scout the neighbourhood.

Rose Bakery - a quaint little cafe that can comfortably sit 15 patrons, we felt at ease here. Perhaps sitting with other patrons who are not in a rush or perhaps it's the waitress's charms that made us feel relaxed. Or possibly the fact that every baked product reminds us of the comfort of home, who knows really. 

We sampled their bacon quiche tart which was freshly made this morning. The scent of cheese and butter was intoxicating as well as addictive. We loved every bite of this quiche and wanted more. 

Pistachio loaf ~ the price of a piece of cake is depending on it's weight. The chef was definitely not stingy with butter here but did restrain from using excess quantities. Simplicity at it's best.

Raspberry and green tea loaf ~ yet another simple piece done well. 

Sebastien Gaudard - also located along Rue Des Martyrs, this little boutique is a viennoiserie, patisserie and confectionery. Apple turnover pastry was flaky and apples were cooked well. The highlight, for me, was their cakes. 

We had a Paris brest, raspberry tart and a cherry cake. All were spot on in terms of taste, flavour and presentation. Again, I would have loved to sample more but time did not permit. The cost of each item ranges from 4 euros to 6 euros. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I have enjoyed sussing them out. Feel free to drop me a message if you would like other sugary sweet suggestions:)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mobile uploads: January- April

It's been sometime since I have last dedicated a blog post on my daily routine and funnily enough, I had to scroll through my blog posts to find out when! Not that I do not like telling you guys what I do in a day but the task of transferring pictures out of my phone into my laptop can be tedious :/

And so, here's a backlog of what I have been up to from February to April. I'll keep my updates for May and June a surprise as I do want to draft up a good article during those months before I publish it;)

I have been having pizza cravings in February and must have tried visited most of the pizza outlets nearby. My favourite by far would still be from Crust. The combination of flavours available are just divine but bear in mind that it may cost an extra $5 in comparison to your average type of pizza.

Ahhh it does remind me of life in college - prowling around at night for supper after cramming our notes or as a cheap meal to fix us up.

I was keen on scouting out Fitzroy and I did on a public holiday. Thankfully there are still some shops opened for business that day so we did not end up starving haha. My mission for that day was to fill myself up with N2gelato and somehow managed to squeeze in a crepe too!

I still have a new packed of Christmas pudding from last Christmas sitting on my kitchen cabinet. Yes, it expires end of this year and no, I did not get tummy issues from eating it. I bought a Jamie Oliver and a Heston Blumenthal version. Verdict? Depending on what you like, Heston's version was a lot more moist and boozy whilst Jamie's stuck to a traditional recipe. Both have their own merits.

Still can not get over how good was this iced coffee from Bagelicious.

Dined at Vapiano with a couple of colleagues and found the interior setup very modern and efficient. Order at the counter with the given "credit card"and the chef will immediately prepare it for you. Before you leave, pass the "credit card" to the cashier who would bring up the total bill from that card.

Chokolait's meringue cake is the best meringue cake I have tasted - not overly sweet and extremely fluffy.

My phone is loaded with selfies. I like to think of it as monitoring my progression haha. Eyeliner - Maybelline, eye shadow - Shiseido, eye brow - Stila, lipstick - Chanel, top - Cue

Testing out the flat picture photography style. I kinda like it.

Ending April with a scrumptious dose of pork belly.

Taiwan Cafe, Glen Waverley MELB

Can I say how much I love living in Glen Waverley? I am constantly spoilt with food choices and different cuisines be it Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Australian or Italian. On top of this, each meal is decently priced so you definitely won't be walking out with a slimmer wallet haha.

I have been to Taiwan in early last year and at times, I do reminiscence about all the wonderful food finds that I happily munched my way through. Now, there may not be a shop that is identical to Taiwanese fare in Glen Waverley but you may find something similar.

Taiwan beef noodles ~ for $10.50, this bowl of piping hot beef broth is more than enough for me (and I can be a big eater at night). The serving is generous and as you can see, it is packed full of iron and protein in the form of chunky beef pieces and eggs. Not forgetting a bit of vegetables to balance out the overall meat-y flavours.

The soup had a good beef flavour to it and certainly kept my tummy warm throughout this bitter cold winter.

Bubble tea ~ this is a must-have drink in Taiwan and without much thought, we ordered one for sharing. Not too bad considering that we are not in Taiwan.

Taiwanese XL crispy fried chicken ~ yes, fried chicken is a popular street snack in Taiwan. These chicken pieces are usually given a good dusting of garlic and chilli powder prior to being served. Each piece was well coated and after being deep-friend, I was happy that it was not soaked in oil.

Oyster omelette ~ yet another popular Taiwanese snack that you can easily grab in the night markets around Taiwan. I would have liked a little more seasoning and colour on the omelette but hey, it wasn't too expensive so why not.

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Advertorial: An evening with SunPork

As someone who's heavily involved with my career progression, I try my best to sustain a healthy lifestyle by literally dragging myself to go to the gym after work and by minimizing my sugar/salt intake. After a hectic day at work, the latter is so much harder to achieve - I'll be reaching out for something sinful to de-stress myself with and can't be bother to prepare a decent meal.

Having just attended a dinner hosted by SunPork, it dawned on me how little I know about pre-prepared meals. Yes, there are a lot of packaged meals out there that are not ideal options but there are also good ones.

Each plate of food that we were served utilized SunPork's pre-prepared products and can be formulated at home in no time. Fully owned by 3 Aussies farmers, these guys have been supplying pork to Woolworths for more than two decades and decided to venture further into the retail market, paying close attention to what consumers these days want.

Without further ado, allow me to bore your eyes with snippets of the dinner. Despite being pre-packed meals that have been reinvented into restaurant quality dishes, I have noticed that every morsel of meat is indeed fresh and still succulent to taste.


Shredded chicken arancini, lemon aioli ~ utilizing their "Slow cooked & shredded roast chicken" meal, the meat was well seasoned and not dry. Wouldn't have thought about using it to make arancini but this has me thinking.

Did I forget to mention the table set up was amazing? So much attention to detail.

Mini pork schnitzel and tomato chutney ~ and now, we can have tasty schnitzels and beers in the comfort of our own home! Adding a dollop of tomato chutney gave the dish a tad more zing but hey, no problems whatsoever if you want gravy on it!

Shredded beef empanada and aji dipping sauce ~ again, the meat used here was very flavourful and the dipping sauce complimented it well.

Plate one:

Pork belly rasher in Korean BBQ sauce, radish slaw, confit apple and apple cream ~ to recreate this entire plate may be time-consuming but have no fear as the pork belly was actually the star on the plate - I would happily snack on this.

Plate two:

Shredded pork croquette, seared scallop and fennel puree ~ this was by far my favourite dish. The croquette was not greasy but rather, evenly crumbed and deep-fried to perfection. The varied textural elements from the crunchy bits, croquette and scallop was sensational together. We were given a recipe card for this dish and I am keen on trying it out myself.

Plate three:

 Peri peri pork schnitzel, labneh and braised cos ~ my brother would love this because 1) its delicious and 2) its a fraction of the price from a pub/cafe. Again, I was impressed by how the manufacturers took care in ensuring that the meat was not dry when it gets re-cooked.

Plate four:

Slow cooked pork ribs in BBQ sauce, potato rosti and mushroom crisps ~ this would be a good one to have in winter, considering that lighting up the barbie might not be the wise-est thing to do now. Meat easily pulled away from the bone and boy, was it sticky, sweet and finger licking good.

Plate five:

Slow roasted pork belly, celeriac puree and grilled fennel ~ the pork belly had an even crackling top which was a nice contrast to the smooth, creamy fatty layer of the belly. I have come across pork belly meat that oozes of a strong unpleasant smell and was so glad this was not a reminder of a bad memory.


Apple, rhubard, fennel and pork skin crumble ~ who would have thought of incorporating crispy pork skin as a crumble? As it is slightly salty in nature, it cuts through the sweetness and acidity of the entire dish perfectly. Move aside salted caramel sauce!

Alas, we were served with petit fours and tea/coffee to end our meal. It was indeed a lovely night in Melbourne, up high in Eureka 89, surrounded by the city's magic. Thank you SunPork for hosting this event and keep up the good work in feeding Australians well:)