Tonight The Street are Ours!

I’ve been following a Singaporean Photographer called Aik Beng Chia for a while, he took photos of Singapore like nobody else. While people took all the mighty atas – atas picture of Singapore, he shows us Singapore from another point of view. He often takes pictures on the back alleys of Singapore, which give us another approach of Singapore. I have also been following his live session in Instagram where he shares the backstory about his projects and how he approach photography.

The song I used in this post is the song by Richard Hawley that he used on his project with the same title. If you have the time, I do reccomend you to look over his website, he took picture from everyday Singaporeans to an old school Teo Chew Opera Crew.

*atas – atas is a term in Singapore that used for explaining upscale lifestyle.
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Stars for the Little Red Dot

Michelin just held an event in Singapore to give out some stars to Singapore culinary establishment. The recipient are the sorts like Joel Robuchon, Jaan, Les Amis, Cut, and some others big names in the industry, the full list can be seen here.

Well, it is a no brainer for me that some of the big names getting their star from the lovable bibman. What exciting is some of the local hawker place also getting the recognition. For me Singapore culinary scene is not just about the fancy fine dining or high place restaurant but the heart of it is the tremendous amount of local hawker delicacy. From the carrot cake to chicken rice, to bak chor mee, everything is a delish. just like Indonesian with their fried rice and satay, Singaporean also have their preferences for their favourite hawker place.

That shown because no matter where you go, every big hawker center seems to have that one stall that need to be queued for at least 30 mins. It actually mind boggling how the fast paced Singaporean willing to queue for a food. It’s like a unsaid rules, “if got queue, confirm good one.” and basically I just salute anyone that willing to wait for more than 15 mins for the food. I can go mad because of the waiting.

The thing that can be learn from this for those who wanted to open up new food business is that you don’t need to go way overboard with your business, yes it is nice to dream big, but it will be nicer to be realistic. Keep that big dream to your long term goals and focusing small first. *of course if you have all the requirement to go big, go ahead* Just make sure that you are 100% behind your idea and have the drive to both run the business and beat the rent.

Start out at a hawker doesn’t mean that you are less than the others, there’s prove with two establishment awarded in the first Michelin Guide for Singapore.

Let’s get cooking guys!

Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar

I am craving for milkshake.

A good thick creamy fatty milkshake.

So I decided to go to Fatcat Ice Cream Bar, with the assumption and full of hope that they will serve a nice milkshake with their home churn ice cream. Too bad, they don’t have milkshake on the menu.

BUT

they have an amazing Ice Cream.

I repeat

AMAZING ICE CREAM

My sadness for not having a milkshake is gone when I have a bite on their ice cream. After I found out that they don’t have milkshake on the menu, I decided to get their waffle instead. Well, what can help you to fix a broken heart other than a nice crisp fluffy waffle right? I ordered the Brown Butter Original Waffle with two scoops of ice cream, Smoked Oolong Tea and Smoked Chocolate. Don’t judge me, I am heartbroken for not having my milkshake okay!

The waffle is unbelievably great, fluffy and crispy, and not overly sweet. This is just perfect to go with their ice cream, which full of flavour. It’s like a flavour burst in my mouth. You know what the best part is, they serve it with a salted caramel sauce around the plate and a sprinkle of roasted herbs! It’s so good I want to cry.

The Ice Cream is just as amazing, both has a strong smoky flavour, but not overpowering the actual taste. I can still taste both the chocolate and the oolong flavour in my ice cream. Thing just get better when you get a bite on that soft, flavourful ice cream with the fluffy waffle and a bit savoury touch from the salted caramel. It’s like a party in your mouth. A party that you sure want to go to.

The place itself is this cute hipster-ish place, on the east part of Singapore, Bedok North Avenue 2 to be exact. What I like from this place is they have a small area that feel more intimate and homey. this is just a perfect place to go when you crave for some good ice cream. They also have quite a fun flavour like a butter beer and such.

Definitely worth a visit for this amazingly hot Singapore weather!

This Fatso love this Fat Cat!

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Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar
Blk 416 Bedok North Ave. 2

Percolate Coffee

Coffee of the East

Yes, I just found out that I have an accessible coffee place near my place just when I am about to leave the country.

Marvellous.

Anyway,

I find this cool coffee place in the east part of Singapore, located in Bedok North Road 3, Percolate Coffee is one of the most comfortable coffee place I ever been into. They serve not only nice conventional coffee, they also has quite a couple interesting menu. The first time I went there, I have their sparkling coffee, yep, Sparkling. For my poor coffee palate, this is a new thing for me. To have a little bit of kick with the caffeine dose is dope!

IMG_7212Other than coffee they also have some snacks to go with. I’ve tried two of their menu so far, one was a Tom Yum Chicken Ciabatta and a Pandan Kaya Croissant. I love the Tom Yum Chicken Ciabatta! The mixture of that tom yum mayo in the soft tender chicken is amazing. on the other hand, the Pandan Kaya Croissant is not really hit the spot for me. The filling is nice, not overly sweet, but the croissant texture is not flaky enough, I feel like eating a bread instead.IMG_7211 

IMG_7238The ambience of the shop is nice, a little cool spot to sit back with a book or a nice chat with a good friend. To give a more added value, the staff over there is very helpful and really have the initiative. other than that they have a great playlist. You just can’t beat a sweet place with a good coffee and lovely music.

Too bad I find this place too late, but it’s better late than never, no?IMG_7213.JPG

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Percolate Coffee
136 Bedok North Avenue 3 #01-152

Singapore

Culinary Student Journal, Final Entry

Yes, this will be my final post regarding this Culinary Student thingy.

I am actually imagining having posting this post on 2017 with a lot of dazzling picture from the graduation and all the creation during my final project, but instead, I have to post this prematurely.

Regarding of my back condition, I’ve decided to call it a quit. At start I thought it will be okay, I know it will be a tough environment to go through and I never have a slightest underestimating the pressure in the kitchen. After the first three month, I think I can start to getting the groove, but the game changes when I start the apprenticeship. Being a kitchen staff is not easy, moreover staying as a trainee. In my opinion, the environment of quick paced and heavy working load is really give a toll of your body.

I am actually lucky enough to have such a helpful head chef that willing to customize the schedule for me. And with a thought about having two weeks work and one week school, I was hoping to have a lighter routine during school week. Apparently, things won’t always go as planned. During this past few weeks, the back pain is getting more and more, despite the back braces I wore and my swimming session.

Having to quit the school is quite a hard decision for me to make, remembering the struggle I went through for this program. Moreover the friendship that we’ve built during the past six months. People said that friendship that been built over hardship can last longer, is quite true. We’d support each other during the struggle at the earlier stage and become each others support system. But yeah, good things must come to an end. It is not easy to leaving my friends at the academy, but sometimes we must take different paths.

I like to think this is like a moment in top chef when one cheftestant being sent home. Of course with difference that I am not chef, moreover top chef, yet, and this is not a competition. Even though I feel a lot of resemblance, when we put in group and have to nailed the recipe given, when during exam we felt like in those quickfire challenge with the prize of getting good grades. The way we kinda avoid working with people we don’t fond of, and such, and such.

What’s next?

I’ve been dreaming for a long time. This is the time for me to start doing it. I have a couple business plan in mind and I will use my time in the future to really make it happen, instead just burying them in the notebook and this wandering mind.

So yeah, This post mark the end of my journey in this little red dot called Singapore.

Let’s stop dreaming and keep busy making the dreams.

Regards.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware

Not your ordinary hipster coffee shop

Since I am always looking for a place to laze around with my laptop and maybe do some reading or writing, I googled and asked my friends about nice spot here in the little red dot. During that research time, I found this cool hipster-ish industrial look coffee shop and according to the experience people wrote on the internet and they cool instagram page, I decided to give it a go.

IMG_6941I went there on Saturday afternoon, so I was actually pretty impressed that I can still get a seat there remembering how savage Singaporeans can be in chopping seats, but apparently CSHH has quite a spacious area both indoors and outdoors and I managed to get one indoors to avoid the scorching heat of Singapore. I sat on the communal table next to the cashier, so I can see the staff preparing the order and such.

IMG_6948Since I came before having my lunch, I decided to get some meals. Yes, other than coffee they also serves simple western meals. I decided to go with their Papa Pork Burger, a pork patty grilled and placed between a charcoal bun and pineapple relish. The patty was fine, and the bun was crisp as well. The down side for me is their pineapple relish, I find it a bit too sweet.

IMG_6947For the coffee, they have quite a variety, I am not that knowledgeable yet, but I order the Nitro Black Matter and man, it is strong. They also offer three variant home brew for those who like their coffee bright, balanced, and bold. If you are not into coffee they have other drinks as well such as tea and lemonades. They also served desserts to go with the coffee as well.

IMG_6942The main event of my trip is not the coffee if I may say, but it is the Sea Salt Gula Melaka Ice Cream I had after my burger. I’ve been eyeing the menu since I come in and placed my order, but I am reluctant to order it. After I am done with my burger, I decided to have it and boy it is a right choice. I love it until the very little bit. The saltines is really complimenting the fragrance sweetness of the gula melaka flavor. When I have a bite of it, All the heat just evaporates away and I can hear the angels sing.

IMG_6952What they have in stores besides the coffee shop itself, is they have like a little coffee academy on the small room in the back and they have this giant room for roasting coffee. I am not so sure, but I think they have like an art space or something in the second floor as well.

All in all, this is the place that I will go for a relaxing and have a chat with my friends. If you love your coffee you might love this place as well. They have a nice menu with instagramable locations.

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Chye Seng Huat Hardware, cshhcoffee.com – 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore

Necessary Provisions

When you look for someplace to eat, sometimes you just want that hole in the wall place that not to fancy. I actually have no idea where this place were, not until my friend got allocated there for his apprenticeship. Placed on the north part of Singapore in the heart of old school atas place of Bukit Timah, Necessary Provisions gives you what really necessary in life; good food, good coffee, lovely ambience.

The menu they offer actually is not much, but it sure varied from pasta, burger, salad, even fried rice! I have tried their gyutan don, sambal fried rice, and pork burger, which all on point. I especially love the pork burger with a juicy patty in between the crusty bread, it just perfect for a meal. Their rice selection also not bad, even the gyutan don is okay, their sambal fried rice is giving me a bit taste of home.

Since it has a lovely atmosphere, you might want to come there just to sit around, reading book, or writing stuff. While you do what you love, they can give you a nice snacks such as a bread and dip, eggplant chips, and such. I’ve had the eggplant chips that they fried using a beer batter and served with miso aioli, it is quite a nice snacks to nibble on. Bread and dip on the other hand, even the dip is nice, I find the bread a bit too stale, maybe I got them at the bad day.

Necessary Provisions also serve a home brew coffee and tea, as well as home brew beer! I love how they give a tremendous service towards the customer. maybe since it is a little shop, around 30 seater full house, It gave the staff a bit more room to give the extra attention for the customer.

If you wanted to go somewhere not mainstream and doesn’t mind the travel, Necessary Provisions is the place for you to go!

Necessary Provisions – 21 Eng Kong Terrace.

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Culinary Student Journal, Week 23

Let’s talk about flavour

I am by no means having a superior palate compared to anybody else. But since i love to eat, especially for good food, just like anybody else, I try to balance all the spices and try to keep the seasoning as simple as possible. I am not against using a lot of spices, as long as it will produce a great food, I will always be on your team.

What I want to talk about is when you cooking something, I assume you want to have a great outcome. whether it just cooking a simple instant noodle, a stir fry vegetables, to a fancy steak and such. to achieve that I believe we have to keep all the flavour profile in balance in order to showing the real characteristic of the dish you wanted to show. Yes, we when we cook we might want to put our own twist and such, but we have to remember that we need to achieve the flavour of original dish.

Confused? Yea, me as well. Let’s talk example.

Let’s say we are making tiramisu, a light Italian classic with a combination of coffee and liquor that mixed with the light characteristic of a mascarpone cheese. For me, a good tiramisu should have a balanced ratio between the liquor, the bitterness of the espresso, and some sweetness from the ladyfinger. I won’t be satisfied to get a tiramisu that way too sweet nor bitter, as well as a heavily drunken tiramisu due to the massive amount of booze.

I once asked a friend why he make a tiramisu with a lot of liquor, and he said because I like to drink. For me that is stupid, if you really want to drink, just go buy a bottle and drink. you don’t have to go all the trouble by making a tiramisu for it. I know how it feels to love a flavour, I had done

eating parmesan cheese with steamed rice as well with instant noodle.

Weird?

Yeah, I know. But it is so good, tho.

Why I decide to write about this?

Because I found out that nowadays people tend to overuse an ingredients, like truffle oil anything, salted egg anything. Again, I am not saying it is wrong to do that. It is all an experiment of what goes well with what, but let’s just make sure that we don’t lose the balanced flavour that makes a dish beautiful.

I am not saying they who did that wrong, it’s just like a musician experimenting with a lot of sound to create music, and just like any other experiments some might works and some not. Just let’s be open for the failure and not being a stubborn that can’t receive a criticism. A flavour is again personal to everyone and everybody is entitled to their opinion as well as their own palate.

I only wish that I can assemble a nice tasty dish, just like a great composer able to mesmerise the listener with their beautiful music. To quote one of my chef instructor, Martin Yeo, ‘Cooking is similar to music, there are countless ways to mix and match it to make it your very own culinary masterpiece’

Culinary Student Journal, Week 22

This week I started to read the book from William Wongso about Indonesians cuisine. I find this book is very intriguing, because it breaks down the flavours that usually served inside an Indonesian plate. This book might not be dissecting in a super detail way, since it might be a countless book to really detailing what goes but it gives a brief introduction about what you will find in Indonesia.

Having this book in my hand actually makes me appreciate the complexity of Indonesian food. I was never the best appreciator for Indonesian food, because just like everybody, I took it for granted. Growing up eating the food and the easy access to buy it, I never have the willingness to cook it. But now, living abroad and moreover studying culinary, I wanted to at least try to introduce various Indonesian flavour, maybe not as a chef or something with a fancy title, but as an Indonesian that proud with the diversity of flavour from home.

On Complaining

I realise that this posting is mostly about me complaining about how though live are and such and such. Most of my friends also have the same problem, maybe they not write it down in a post or something, but when we hang around and going out, they share the problems with the group. I am totally okay and 100% not against it. That’s what friends are for anyway, to become support system when we were down and to share the joy when we were on top.

I do also complaint a lot, but I find that we have to draw a line for when to stop, haven’t us?

Nowadays I try to second guessing my complaint. Yes, I do felt tired and exhausted, but as well as the others. I try to find another way to handling the issue instead just merely complaining. I am not saying that I will not complaint anymore, I just trying to limit my complain and try to not repeatedly saying the same problem over and over and over and over and over again.

What I feel is since we already have a hard time, let’s not make it worse by complaining to much. It is okay to let your emotion out, but it is not okay to keep repeating it on every chance you have. In my opinion, you’re not complaining anymore, you are just whining. Let’s not make the times even harder by being so negative.

I think my goal for this week is to not complaining too much. We millennials already have quite a bad mark on it, like a Chinese saying the young generation is a ‘Strawberry Generation’ 草莓族. That refers us to be like a strawberry that can’t hold any pressure just like a delicate strawberry is. We have a lot to improve and show the society wrong, that we are can be as tough as the others and we are not a quitter.

Oh and one more thing, I will try to stop justified my bad decisions. LOL

See you guys!