Jumbo Seafood Restaurant @ East Coast Park

Mr Food is never left out at any gatherings; Singaporeans love to eat, and even more so over when meeting up with friends. My family and extended family celebrated Father's Day with a dinner at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, and we decided to go to the ever so packed East Coast's branch since we haven't been there for awhile.

I'm sure the Chilli Crab are no stranger to anyone of you now. Famed for being uniquely singapore's, the Jumbo's one has become a familiar taste to my palate after eating at Jumbo for a number of years and never failing to order it everytime we visit Jumbo. The crabs we got this time round was big and fleshy, very satisfying indeed.

In addition to the Chilli Crab, we also ordered Black Pepper Crab this time round but I didn't really got the chance to savour it. Had it somewhere else the other time but my preference is still Chilli Crab; I find the black pepper taste too overwhelming all the time, and the spiciness hinders you from enjoying the crabs.
The Fried Baby Squids are a fantastic starter, if you're looking for something sweet and crunchy, I would say. Gives your mouth a good warm up before the feast haha.
The Stir Fry Fish Slices with Ginger and Spring Onion was comparable to the tze char stalls. The fish slices were smooth and moist, de-li-cious with a steaming bowl of rice.
I can't remember what these prawns were fried with but I'm guess cereal prawns. A little too greasy for my liking, though the prawns were fresh and crunchy.
If you're a fan of Mee Goreng then try Jumbo's. Theirs come with generous amount of seafood : fish slices, prawns and plump, juicy scallops. Very fulfilling indeed, worth paying for.
This was something new for me as my family never did ordered the pork ribs. This is Wok-fried Pork Ribs with Special Sauce or, you might be more familiar with this, Pai Gu Wang. I loved this. Chewing on thick slices of meat, coating with some sweet and sticky sauce is one of the joys of life. If I were to nitpick, these pork ribs could be a little more tender.

That was my family's Fathers' Day dinner feast, what about yours? What did your family eat on Fathers' Day?

Banana, Muffins, And a New Baby!

I've something to share. It hasn't been shared till this post is written and published but you would have noticed if you were following me on my facebook page or instagram. But I have to confess, I was feeling lazy that's you only get to hear this joyous news so late.

Here's my joy : I've got a new baby! No, no not your 9 months and still growing, a couple of kilograms and an extremely painful delivery service one; It's an expensive and precious one nonetheless. I'm finally a proud own of my own DSLR, Canon 60D, after months of wishing and praying, I'm almost certain God heard me. Thanks grandma! -smiles-
The 60D has been serving me well, and the reason why I decided to reveal this news - that I finally bought my DSLR - along with this post was because the photos from this post were shot entirely using my new camera.(: (except for the photos of the camera itself though.)

So far the white balance and photo images have been up to expectation. Oh, I bought kit 1 with the 18-55mm kit lens. Stolen my friend's 50mm F1.8 to use though heh.
Returning to the banana crumb muffins, I have to say that these muffins came out moist and light with a sweet crunchy top. I would have really love it if it was a little lighter though. I made them for my photog mates and teacher-in-charge because my teacher was so nice to offer to pay for the ingredient so that I could make a good first impression for my photog exco committee. In case you're wondering what I'm rumbling on about, I'm currently the president of SAJC photography society.(:

Whip up these muffins on a lazy weekend morning if you have ripe bananas on hand and want something extra special for breakfast. Your family will be delighted and thankful, promise.(:

Banana Crumb Muffins (adapted from allrecipes)

  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 170g white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 60g packed brown sugar
  • 10g all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I omitted this because I didn't have it on hand)
  • 15g butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Ginza Bairin @ JCube

With the opening of JCube comes an Olympic-size ice rink and definitely a bigger and grander shopping mall, injecting more vibe into the already vibrant neighbourhood. But did you know that Ginza Bairin also opened another outlet there, in addition to their current one at Orchard ION?

Ginza Bairin's not a full service restaurant and when compared to places like Saboten and Tonkichi, it fades out a little. But I'll say that it definitely has great value and is of decent quality.
 Yes, their Special Katsudon was voted No.1 in Japan! Sadly, we didn't get a chance to savour the black pig version  but nonetheless, it was delicious especially with the oozing egg yolk. I'm such a sucker for runny yolks, am I? Haha. My only complain was that the coating of the tonkatsu was a little thick so when it got damp here, which is inevitable, I could feel the layer of coating distinctly. Spoiled the dish a little, but the dish was still good nonetheless.
Another of their specialities here, Tonkatsu Sandwich. The concept of sandwiching a piece of tonkatsu between 2 slices of bread came up in World War II when Japan faced a severe shortage of rice. After it was introduced, it became extremely popular and the rest they say, is history. Pretty neat idea I must say and oh, did I mention, the sandwich encompasses homemade tonkatsu sauce inside it too. Their homemade tonkatsu sauce is a blend of vegetables, apple and spices. A very unique sauce that brought out the flavour of the tonkatsu, you could taste the apples in the sauce.
We had a platter of the a-la carte toppings : Cheese Pork and Ebi Fry. These toppings were forgettable I must say, sadly. I was told that their bread crumbs here are specially sourced and homemade too so that their fried items remain crisp even after a long time. We had no time to verify that, neither did we bother haha. We dug in and the cheese filing flowed out once you bite into the pork, but I felt that the cheese didn't quite pair with the pork. The prawns were quite bad, very greasy and the prawns were not crunchy at all.
We also sampled their Big Pig Katsu Curry. Let's talk about the main character, the slice of Kurobuta fillet, first. Fact : Kurobuta, the black pig, is known for its finer marbling and shorter muscle fiber which results in a tender and succulent slice of pork. Verdict : It's true. There on the plate laid a succulent and tender piece of kurobuta fried to a crisp. Their special curry sauce was great too with chunks of vegetables and potatoes, served with warm Japanese rice, made a very fulfilling meal. I could do with this for lunch.
Last but not least, we had the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen. Created specially for the local market, you'll only find this in Ginza Bairin Singapore branches. Singaporeans do love our spicy food, don't we? Beware, you might want to taste a little of the pile of fiery hot chilli chicken minced meat before mixing it with the whole bowl of ramen. Mix only what you deem to be adequate because it can get too hot for you! Lovely bowl of ramen, though it was hot hot hot.

A very pleasant first visit to Ginza Bairin indeed, I would return here to satisfy my tonkatsu cravings if I ever have the urge yet a little tight on my wallet! 

Special for Nigel Eats Readers
Ginza Bairin is currently having a really attractive weekday promotion, with prices starting as low as $9.90! In addition to that, Ginza Bairin would like to offer Nigel Eats readers a free ala carte topping of Chicken Kara-age with every purchase of the special weekday set. All you have to do give a shout of "I LOVE Nigel Eats, Ginza Bairin Ichiban!". Valid till 31 July 2012.

Ginza Bairin
2 Jurong East Central 1 
#B1-K05 (S)609731

Many thanks to Athena from The Brand Elixir and Gina Bairin for the great invite.

Dann's Daily Pescetarian Cafe : Serving Up Delicious Wholesome Foods

'A little daily makes a difference, a little difference makes your day.' Beautiful quote from Dann's Daily Cafe isn't it? Yes, a little difference each day does in fact go a long way. Taking a small step out to make a meal a day wholesome now - so that your body gets the nutrients it needs - could have everlasting impacts for the years to come. Just think of it, good health, radiant looks and lesser visits to the doctor, why not? So start making the change today and a visit to Dann's Daily Cafe would help to start you off.
Dedicated to serving up wholesome foods, it's not your regular health salad bar or cafe. The owners, Xing and Christina, follows a pescetarian diet, one that have seafood to meet their protein needs and vegetables.
I love how unpretentious and homely the cafe is. Healthy as it is, the foods served here are no doubt delicious yet some things here might take a little getting used to for the new palate and there are certain items on the menu for you to have your moments of indulgence. 
 Take for example this cup of Vanilla Teeccino Latte, it's a techonology brought back from the US by Xing as Christina shares that Xing, her husband, used to be a caffeine addict in the past and too much of anything is bad right? So being a coffee enthusiast, Xing spent time and effort in searching for good coffee and brewing his own cuppa, till he met the Teeccino which is caffeine free, non-acidic beacause it's actually dairy with roasted almonds, dates and figs! 

I would love to tell you it taste just like your own of coffee, but nope, unfortunately (or fortunately for the coffee lovers out there) there are no substitute for the real deal. However, it's worth a try because it's actually pretty tasty with layers of flavours waiting for you to decipher as you sip your cup of teeccino. 

Or consider the Organic Quinoa Salad (2nd photo), quinoa is the choice of grain over rice as it has less carbs, high in fibre, protein and is gluten free. Quinoa is more commonly seen and served in the US but we, Singaporeans, could welcome a healthier grain than the polished white rice. Though I have to say that the grains are smaller than your normal white rice and it may taste a different but I'm sure it'll satisfy my carbs craving as well, great for carbs watchers!
We tried the dry QQ noodles that were made of semolina flour and tasted in organic carob syrup as well. First a little introduction on carob, a common healthy substitute to chocolate when you add sugar with carob. Yet, it depends on how you use carob, it can be incorporated into a savoury dish like this too. Carob has 17 times lesser fats and also lesser calories than chocolate. It felt a little funny tasting carob for the first time but it will grow on you over time. Felt the noodles could do with a little salt or soya sauce to impart a ltitlle saltiness though.
 Moving on to their burgers and toasties, this is a Beetroot Patty Burger served with potato chips and potato salad, a favourite among their customers. Time and effort were spent on the patty to find a way to bind the ingredients together without the use of egg or flour so this is gluten free as well. Oh, and did I mention that alkaline water is served free-of-charge here to all their customers because it is said that our human bodies are naturally acidic and the alkaline water would serve to better regulate our digestion system as it neutralises the level of acidity within. 

Mmm, but I deviated, back to the burger. The burger patty is little dry on its own but Christina counters this with a homemade beetroot chutney that binds everything together, making this burger a flavourful and wholesome one. Ah, and the potato chips for the side you may ask, what is it doing in a 'healthy' cafe?! Yup, precisely because it is not your 100% healthy cafe but the potato chips are selected as they're only fried and seasoned with a little sea salt.

My favourite item out of all the savoury items that I've got to try so far, would be the Otah Japanese Cucumber Sandwich (top photo), which again is a favourite amongst their consumers. This is easy to comprehend. This is certainly not your run-of-mill otah with its big chunks of mackerel. Simple, fresh and utterly delicious is what I would say of this humble toast.
 Dann's Daily signature item : Steamed Cupcakes. Ah, moments of indulgence here. Proud of her own creation, Christina does not hesitate to explain how she started off with the idea of adapting her mom's huat kueh recipe but had to come out with her own from scratch when it didn't work out. She didn't want a huat kueh, she wanted a cupcake. 

Having tried their Gula Melaka steamed cupcake, top with gula melaka cream (background). I can tell you, it's to die for. Very moist and packed with freshly grated coconut, a very wonderful and pleasing end to a wholesome meal at Dann's Daily Cafe indeed. My friend had the Strawberry one topped with strawberry cream on top, he loved it as well. I stole a bite of course heh, and it was very wonderful with the slight tang from the strawberries balancing out the sweetness of the cupcakes. It might not be as aesthetically pleasing as your artisan cakes or breads but it'll sure get you hooked on with its taste!

Thank you Xing and Christina for hosting me and Christina for taking the time to explain each item in detail to me and to Paul from Thox from the invite. I enjoyed the journey of learning and tasting delicious wholesome foods throughly.

Homemade Vanilla Extract : My Vanilla Extract Project

How wonderful is it when you discover a method to turn 'waste' into treasure. Sure, those vanilla pods seem empty and useless after scraping out their seeds within but hold your horses, you might just want to rethink.
Grab a bottle of flavourless vodka, an empty jam jar or glass container (reused too!) and your used vanilla pods. Yes doubt not, for all you need are 3 items to obtain your homemade vanilla extract. I've just started my homemade vanilla extract project 2 days ago. Today's day 3 and everything's looking good. Of course, not mentioning that you need to wait, 2 months at least, for the flavour to develop in the alcohol.

It'll be worth it, believe me.

You could also stick your used vanilla pods into a jar of sugar and after a month or so, you should have vanilla sugar as well! Wonderful isn't it, to have a teaspoon of extract in your yummy cakes and treats or a teaspoon of that vanilla infused sugar in your cuppa.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

A few notes :
* After googling around the internet prior to making my own vanilla extract, I've come to realised that there's no one hard and fast rule on the ratio of vanilla pods to amount of alcohol. However the reccomended ratio would be a cup of alcohol to 1 vanilla pod.

* Don't reuse the vanilla pods that have been seeped in custard or milk.

 * You could use new vanilla pods, just scrape out the seeds and put them inside the container as well. This will hasten up the process.

* To hasten up the process : Use a higher ratio of vanilla beans to amount of alcohol.

* To obtain a stronger extract : Use an alcohol with a higher percentage of alcoholic content.

1 cup of flavourless vodka (I asked my dad to get it from the duty-free store at the airport, it's cheaper!) (I used 400ml to fill up my jam jar)
1 used vanilla pod (I used 3)
1 glass container/bottle
1 funnel (optional but tremendously helpful if you're using a glass bottle with a small neck)

1. Sterilise your glass container/bottle by placing it in a pot of water and bringing it up to a boil. Let it dry and cool then use.

2 . Pour a cup of the alcohol into your glass container and place your vanilla pods inside. Close the lid tightly and shake.

3. Place it in a cool corner in your house and shake it once a week or daily for 8-10 weeks and there you have it, your first homemade vanilla extract.

Fish & Co : Latest Student Menu

Looking out for promotional offers or value-for-money meals? Fish & Co is offering an all fish & chips student menu! This time with more varieties and better value-for-money.

What's Fish & Co famed for? Their fish & chips of course, you don't say?

I say. For this time, they have taken out the previous student sized student menu meals and in place are 8 international fish & chips full sized meals. You will get to choose from these 8 fish & chips namely, Singapore, USA, New York, Italian, Danish, Japanese, Swiss and Arctic. All these from just $8 onwards with a complimentary drink.

Fish & Co also launched various new items such as their Ipad ordering system which makes ordering a little cooler heh. They also paired up with Sony PlayStation Vita to put in place 7 Sony PS Vita Kiosks at 7 Fish & Co restaurants : The Glass House, ION Orchard, Clementi Mall, Jurong Point, Fish & Co. Express @ Downtown East and Fish & Co. Express @ University Town, NUS. So now you can play with the PS Vita handheld consoles while waiting for a table!
Coming back to the fish & chips, this tasting session must be the time where I have had the most fish & chips in one setting at one time. 8 fish & chips were a little overwhelming and we struggled to finish them all but at least we had a taste of each flavour to reccomend you the worthy ones. 

My tastebuds were a little numb after tasting fish & chips no. 4 or so. However I would reccomend you ordering the New York fish & chips if you're into cheese, or the USA (normal) fish & chips if you're a little less adventurous and would go for the safer choice or the Italian fish & chips because I was surprised to find that tomato pasta sauce went quite well with the fish & chips. 

I found the Singapore version fish & chips a little strange because the chilli crab sauce didn't taste authentic enough to me, neither did it pair well with fried fish. The Arctic fish & chips was a little different too where they used a different type of fish from their usual fish & chips that had a stronger fishy smell to it, which didn't go well with us.

So go ahead and try them all out if you're game. Afterall, they are after school specials and it's our privilege as students to dive into these fish & chips at cheaper prices.(: 

Let me know which one matched your taste buds or which ones would you banish from the 8 of them after trying! 

Great thanks to Fish & Co for taking our feedback seriously and Paul from Thox for the invite.

Fish & Co
9 Penang Road, #01-24
The Glass House
Tel: 6334 1858 (Walk-in Only)
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