Sunday, June 30, 2013

[Gangwon-do, Korea] Chuncheon Dakgalbi - Korean Stir-fried Chicken with Vegetables 춘천닭갈비

Getting to Chuncheon Station (in Gangwon Province) from Seoul is so easy now with ITX connecting Yongsan / Cheongnyangni stations to the Gyeongchun Line in 2012.  Chuncheon station is the last station on the Gyeongchun line and it takes about an hour to travel by ITX.  Fret now that the journey is long and boring, you can enjoy the scenic scenery while travelling or if you prefer to get connected, Olleh wifi is available on the ITX.

The local specialty in the Chuncheon region is that Chuncheong Dakgalbi, a stir-fried marinated chicken dish in chilli pepper paste with vegetables (cabbage, sweet potato, onion, scallion etc) and rice cakes.  For years, the chuncheon region has been famous for its abundance in poultry produce.  This dish started off as a side dish to go with drinks in the early days in the 1960s, it gradually grown to become so popular, so much so that a street has been dedicated to this dish.   There is even an annual festival held in Chuncheon to commemorate this dish.  For this year (2013), the festival starts today (29 Jun) until 7 Jul and is held in front of the Chuncheon Station.


Exiting from the station entrance, the most convenient mode of transport would be to take a taxi to the Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street.  When I was there, loads of taxis were lining along the side of the road.  The exact location is Myeongdong.  So, you can simply inform the taxi drive to go to Myeongdong Dakgalbi Golmok (명동닭날비골목).  Golmok means alley or street.  The journey is should not take more than 5 mins.  Alternatively, you can walk to the Dakgalbi street if you have a map on hand and know the way.  It takes about 20 mins by foot.


The taxi should let you alight at this entrance signage.  Follow the directional sign and walk into the alley.  There are approximately 20 dakgalbi restaurants in the alley. 



The dakgalbi restaurants are all rather traditional and require guests to sit on the wooden floor.  Once seated and order has been placed, they would start cooking almost immediately, right on the dining table.  The round flat pan is filled with freshly cut vegetables, topped with richly marinated de-boned chicken chunks that were also cut into bit sizes.  No oil is added in the process.  The moisture from the vegetables and the fats from the meat is sufficient for the cooking.  Generally, this is a rather healthy dish since white meat is generally healthier than red meat.




The cooking takes about 10 to 15 minutes.  When done, the chicken is tender and juicy.  The portion is usually generous so my advice is not to eat any heavy meals before having a dakgalbi meal.  At some restaurants, they may even add rice to the remaining dakgalbi and turn it into dakgalbi fried rice!



Dakgalbi is a very flavourful dish that is sweet, salty and spicy at the same time.  That is also one reason why it is popular amongst the general population.  It was said that sweet potato and rice cakes were not part of the original recipe.  Sweet potato, not only added to the sweetness of the dish, it was used as a gauge as to whether the meat is cooked.  When the sweet potato turns soft and edible, it means that the meat is already cooked too.  How interesting!
 
 
Getting there: Point A refers to the position of Chuncheon Station and Point B is the Dakgalbi street. 
 

View Larger Map


Related Posts:
- Airfare Promotions to Seoul/Busan/Jeju (Click here)
- Locating EG SIM Card shop at Seoul Station (Click here)
- Exploring Korean Traditional Markets on Subway Line 5 (Click here)
- Korean Fried Chicken Culture (Click here)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Discounts / Rebates at Singapore Food Courts

Most of us dine with foodcourts.  These are the foodcourts that offer discounts:

Kopitiam
Pay using the Kopitiam card and you get 10% off your meals at foodcourts and selected stalls at the Kopitiam neighbourhood coffeeshops.  You can top-up your cards at the foodcourts (at the self-service kiosks) and at the coffeeshops (usually at the drinks counter).



Website: http://www.kopitiam.biz/kc_card.html

Food Republic
They used to issue their discount cards annually but this year, they have partnered with Passion Card.  Pay using Passion Card on weekdays (ie. except for Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays) and you get 10% off your meal!  This discount is valid until 30 April 2014.



Website: http://www.passioncard.com.sg/merchantlistinfo.aspx?bg=merchant&menuid=456

NTUC Foodfare
Earn link points when you produce your NTUC Plus, Nebo Plus or Plus Card.  1 link point for $1 spent on the 1st 2 cards and 2 link points for $1 spent on the 3rd card.


Website: http://plus.com.sg/grocery-food-and-shopping/ntuc-foodfare

Koufu
Get 5% rebate from the Singapore Food Festival (SFF) 2013 Nets Flashpay card or the McDonald's Flashpay card.  You can get these cards from the Transit Link office at MRT stations.  Because these are limited edition cards, there are separate charges to get these cards.  The promotion using the SFF card and McDonald's card is valid till June 2014 and March 2014 respectively.  A minimum monthly spent of $30 is required before you can enjoy the 5% rebate and the maximum rebate is capped at $10 per month.  Other than Koufu, the rebates can also be earned at selected merchants. Details are available from the Nets website.





Website: http://www.nets.com.sg/offers-a-promotions/nets-flashpay

If you gave other lobangs, do share!





Friday, June 28, 2013

Chocolate Lava Cake from Chocolate Origin

Seriously, this lava cake in a cup ~ try it and you will love it.  The cake is almost perfect, at least to me, in terms of firmness, richness and sweetness.
 
It is an excellent idea to hold in a cup with the cold vanilla ice cream at the bottom with the warm and moist cake with the chocolate lava on top. Better still, there is no fuss, no mess and you can scrape the cup till the last bit of ice cream. At $5, this is an affordable indulgence when you need something to perk up your mood. ;)
 
 
Chocolate Origin
313@Somerset, #B3-10A, 313 Orchard Road
Opening Hours: Mon to Sun 10am to 9.30pm
 
 

View Larger Map

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Starbucks at United Square

Café culture in Singapore is getting better!  Check out this Starbucks at United Square.  It would be really cool to savour a cuppa at the 2nd level, sitting by the full-length window, enjoying personal times with friends and watching the sun goes down.  I got so excited when I saw it this evening!  That's the way to enjoy life!
 

 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[Recipe] Korean Potato Pancake [감자전]

Korean Potato Pancake is one delicious dish that I really really like!  Gonna learn how to cook it!



Ingredients:
1 pound peeled potato
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
¼ cup chopped Asian chives
vegetable oil

Garnish:
red and hellow bell pepper, slice into 1 inch strips

Dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
a pinch of roasted sesame seeds

Preparation Direction:
1. Cut the peeled potato into small chunks and add to a food processor
2. Add water, chopped chives, and salt. Blend it well until creamy puree
3. Put the mixture in a strainer over a bowl to strain. Press it down with a spoon gently so that the starch water will go through the strainer.
4. Put the strained potato mixture in a bowl
5. Wait for 1 minute for the starch to sink in the bowl
6. Pour out the water to get the starch. Add the starch to the potato mixture and stir with a spoon.

Cooking:
1. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat
2. Add a few drops of vegetable oil and spoon the mixture and place it on the pan. Spread it nicely to make about 2 inch disks. Repeat this to fill it your pan depending on your pan size.
3. When the bottom part starts a little light brown, turn it over.
4. And add the garnish strips and press it in with a spatular. Cook about 1 minute until the bottom part turns golden brown.
5. Turn it over and cook 10 seconds so that the top part won't brown.
6. Transfer it to a serving plate. Repeat it. You will get about 10 pancakes

Serving:
Combine soy sauce, vinegar and sprinkle sesame seeds in a small bowl.
Serve hot with the dipping sauce

Sunday, June 23, 2013

[Non-food] Which N95 Mask to Fight the Haze and How to Use it? (Updated)

I seriously doubt the haze situation will be resolved anytime soon unless there is a huge downpour over the sky of Sumatra within these few days.  In the meantime, life must go on and the best we can do to protect ourselves is to minimise exposure in the outdoors and therefore limit the intake of toxic pollutants into our body.  Depending on your personal physical condition and the the pollution level, you may want to use the N95 mask when appropriate.  There are several types of N95 masks available in Singapore and an extract from a piece of info found online about the differences for the different N95 masks models.


Health Advisory
There is a recent advisory from MOH that "N95 masks are not certified for use in children; pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimester shouldn't wear N95 masks for more than 15-20 mins each time."  Details can be found in this photo.


Also, there isn't a need to change a N95 mask everyday!  MOH advises that the mask only needs to be changed when it is soiled or when it has gotten out of shape.  For more questions on managing your health in times of haze, do visit the MOH's website.  Also, all of us should familiarise with the health advisory issued by MOH which has info on the medical scheme for those affected by the haze.

N95 Stock
MOH has also recently released stocks of N95 to various pharmacies.  On last Friday, some friends have shared that the pharmacies they had gone to had no more N95 masks.  On Saturday morning, Unity Healthcare had replenished it's stocks and also publicly announced the arrival time of their stocks to manage buyers' expectation.  N95 can also be purchased from Cold Storage and Watsons.  NTUC Fairprice will also start selling from 24 Jun onwards.



Price of N95 Masks
Updates from friends show that the price at Unity is the cheapest.  $2.25 after the 10% discount for almost all models.  At Cold Storage, the price is $56 for 1 box (20 pieces) of N95 8210 and $77 for 1 box (20 pieces) of N95 9210.  Watsons had also started the sale of N95 at the price of $2.50 each for N95 1860 and 1860s.  Each person can buy up to 10 pieces. 

Donning the N95 Mask
The N95 mask is rather tight-fitting and hence, a little difficult to put on.  Here's some tips from HPB on putting on the N95 masks.


The video from Raffles Medical is useful - watch the hands-on demo on putting on and removing the mask.






[Recipe] Korean Dried Pollock Soup (with Radish) [북어국]

This soup, although the main ingredient is dried Pollock, the other key ingredient is radish.  This is a traditional dish that is still very popular in Korean.  This is known to be good for health and has healing effect.  Check it out if you'd like some variation from the Chinese Radish Soup.  Enjoy!



Ingredients (for 2 servings):
2 oz (60 grams) dried shredded pollock, radish, garlic, fish sauce (or salt), water, green onion,sesame oil, egg, and water

Directions:
1. Take 2 oz (60 grams) of dried and shredded pollock from a package and tear each strip into thin pieces by hand. They should be about 2 ½ inch long (6 cm).
*tip: 1 package of dried shredded pollock that I use in the video weighs 150 grams (about 5 oz), so you could make 5-6 servings with 1 package.

2. Peel a radish and slice it into small pieces (2 x 3 inch and 1/8 inch thick) to make 2 cups' worth.

3. Slice 2 stalks of green onions. Mince 4 cloves of garlic. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl with a fork. Set them all aside.

4. Heat up a pot and add 1 tbs sesame oil.

5. Add the dried pollock strips and the minced garlic to the pot and stir it for 30 seconds with a wooden spoon.

6. Add 7 cups of water and the radish.

7. Close the lid and boil for 20 minutes over high heat.

8. 20 minutes later, open the lid and add 2 tbs fish sauce.

9. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

10. Open the lid and pour the beaten egg into the boiling soup.
*tip: Don't stir the soup until the beaten egg is cooked and floating.

11. Turn the heat off and add the green onion.

12. Stir it with a ladle so the green onion is cooked a little by the boiling soup.
Serve with rice and side dishes including kimchi.

[Recipe] Radish Daikon and Carrot Pork Soup (青紅白蘿蔔瘦肉湯)

Daikon (白萝卜) is one of the food recommended by TCM for removal of heat and toxin substances from our body during this period.  Daikon soup can be easily purchased from our local food courts but if you prefer to stay indoor and cook it at home, here's one recipe you can refer to.

 
 

 
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 10 mins
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb of green radish (also called Chinese or Oriental Radish)
  • 1 lb of daikon
  • 1 lb of red carrots
  • 1.5 lb of lean pork meat
  • 1 tsp of Chinese south almonds
  • 1/2 tsp of Chinese north almonds
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 10 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Boil a small pot of water to blanch the pork. Cut the meat to 2-inch cubes while the water cooks. Blanch, drain and set aside the pork.
  2. In a separate large pot, boil 10 cups of water.
  3. Peel and slice the green radish, daikon, and carrots to 1-inch thick slices. Rinse the Chinese almonds and set aside.
  4. When the soup water boils, put all ingredients into the pot. Cook covered on high heat for 5 minutes or until the soup water boils.
  5. Reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 2 hours. Set the timer. When ready, sprinkle a pinch of salt to taste and serve.
 
Note:
Green radish is said to be a cooling food. As such, pregnant women and those with a cold should drink this soup with caution.


Related Post:
Old Cucumber Soup 

[Recipe] Old Cucumber Soup

Looking for a recipe for Old Cucumber Soup?  The common ingredients include old cucumber (of course), porkribs, red dates and cuttlefish.  Typical traditional soup will take a while to cook, typically a few hours if you wish to taste the authentic sweetness from the ingredients.  Here's a few recipes that I've found.


Website: http://www.noobcook.com/old-cucumber-soup/


Website: http://www.smokywok.com/2011/05/chinese-old-cucumber-soup-recipe.html

 

Website: http://annieliciousfood.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/old-cucumber-soup-%E8%80%81%E9%BB%84%E7%93%9C%E6%B1%A4/

Related Post:
Radish, Daikon and Carrot Pork Ribs Soup

[Recipe] Green Bean Soup

One of the recommended food to consume during this hazy season is the green bean soup.  Green beans are able to help expel the heat and toxin substance from the body.  Green bean soup can be consumed warm or cold.  Unconsumed green bean soup can be kept in the fridge.  Heat it up before consuming if you like it warm. 

Found this rather simple recipe for Singapore-style green bean soup from another website noobcook.




Green Bean Soup 绿豆汤
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
Where yin and yang of foods go, green bean soup is "yin" (cooling) while red bean soup is "yang" (warming), so this is perfect for the hot summer weather. If you do not wish to add any sago to your green bean soup, skip step 1.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams green beans (aka mung beans/lu dou/綠豆) soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 2 pandan (screw pine) leaves dried ends cut, tied in a knot
  • 1.7 litres water
  • 70 grams rock sugar (冰糖) to taste
  • 10 grams (or 3 small pieces) dried orange (tangerine) peel (陈皮)
  • 80 grams canned or vacuum-packed lotus seeds or ginkgo nuts optional
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) small sago (small tapioca pearls)

Instructions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add sago and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the stove, cover the pot with lid and let the sago continue to cook on its own for another 10 minutes, until all the sago turns translucent. Run the cooked sago through a fine sieve and running water to remove excess starch. Set aside. Check out this step-by-step photo tutorial for preparing sago.
  2. In a bigger soup pot, add green beans, 1.7 litres water, dried orange peel and pandan leaves. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add lotus seeds/gingko nuts and reduce heat to a simmer, partially covered, for about 50 minutes (or until the beans are soft), stirring the sides and bottom of the pot occasionally. Top up with hot water at any time if necessary.
  4. Stir in rock sugar (to taste) until the sugar is dissolved. Discard orange peel slices and pandan leaves. Add the cooked sago prepared in step 1 to the green bean soup. Serve warmed or chilled.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Health Tips for Beating the Haze

The Haze situation in Singapore isn't going to go away anytime soon.  We can't control a situation that is beyond our country but we are in control in what we consume.  Take care!
 

 

Source: Eu Yan Sang

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Hit List -- Best High Tea Locations in Singapore

Check out the list from msn but gotta warn that these are pretty high-end places in hotels, not cheap!

The Hit List -- Best High Tea Locations in Singapore

Monday, June 17, 2013

Korean Summer Fruit - Watermelon (수박)

In Singapore, 1 fruit which I feel we have almost taken for granted is the watermelon.  It is available at the food centres and fruit juice stalls that we may sometimes forget how fortunate we are that watermelon is here the whole year round.

In Korea, watermelon is a summer fruit which means you don't get it anytime.  It is said that the sweetest watermelon is from Buyeo 부여 (at south Chungcheong province) during summer.  And also, it is expensive!!  USD$13.50 for 1 watermelon selling at the traditional market in Korea!  But I have to confess that how much 1 whole watermelon costs in Singapore because we often buy them in slices at the fruit juice stalls.  But I reckon that 1 whole watermelon would not costs more than S$10?



Like the Chinese saying "物以稀为贵", we tend to treasure things that are rare to us.  Look at what fascinating dishes that had been created from this summer fruit - watermelon ^^  Kalguksu!  This is amazing!
 


 
Related Posts:
Korean Yellow Melon (click)
Summer Dessert Patbingsu (click)
Seafood from Jebu Island (click)
 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

[Non-Food] Earn rewards while you travel on LRT / MRT in Singapore

Dear friends, this isn't any spam but just sharing that our national transport system is having a campaign to encourage people to take the train during decongestion hours ie. before 7.30am or after 8.30am.  What you need to do is to sign up at the website they have set up (INSINC) at this link (https://insinc.sg/r/345pz9TJ/).  You will need to register 1 Ezlink card, and I suggest you use the one which you commonly use.  Backend at their system, they will capture the timing which you enter the gantry.  Log into regularly to check how many points you have accumulated.  Rewards is given in 2 ways:

1.  System can automatically convert your points into cash rewards which you can redeem at the value-adding machines or credit into your Ezlink card directly; or
2.  Let the system do an spinning game (like a snake and ladder game) where you can either earn points or earn cash rewards.  This depends on your luck!  There is also a possibility that you use up ALL your points but did not win any cash rewards.

So, no harm exploring!  If you wonder how much can you get back?  For me, after being on the programme for about 6 months, I got back $25 from the points =)  My travelling distance from home to workplace is about 17km for 1-way.

Hope this info is useful to my fellow local commuters in Singapore!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eastern (Dong Yuan) Rice Dumpling

It's the Dragon Boat Festival or Dumpling Festival tomorrow.  It typically falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.  Chinese celebrate this legendary festival by eating steamed rice dumplings, or locally known as bak zang. 

The dumplings come in several traditional recipes namely in Cantonese style, Hokkien style or Nonya style.  My favourite is the traditional is the savoury Hokkien dumpling, made using glutinous rice seasoned with dark soy sauce and 5 spices, dried mushrooms and pork belly.  Some come with the salted egg yolks too.  I have just bought mine from the famous Eastern Rice Dumplings (东园肉粽).  Not only is it reasonably priced and they are really really yummy.  To savour the traditional taste, this is one shop you should not miss.



Due to the festive season, the price has increased a little and be prepared to queue... so, be there early if you want to get hold of your favourite rice dumplings!

Eastern (Dong Yuan) Rice Dumpling
Cold Storage at Compass Point, Basement 1

Sunday, June 09, 2013

[Recipe] Homecooked Budae Jjigae 부대찌개 Recipe (Korean Army Stew)

The Korean Army Stew 부대찌개 is a common dish in Korea. The difference between a soup and a stew is that the latter is thicker while soup tends to lighter and most of the time, clear. 
This dish originated from the Korean war times when food was scarce.  In order not to waste whatever precious food that was surplus from the US Forces (from ham, spam, sausages etc), the Korean has transformed into a local dish that is still very popular to date.  The region where this originated from was Uijeongbu (located at the south of Seoul), it might be where you can get the most authentic 부대찌개.
Cooking 부대찌개 at home isn't as complicated as I thought. In fact, the dish can be ready within 30 mins.
Here's what I did.  Cut the beancurd into 6 pieces. Thaw the sausages. Get ready a can of baked beans. Prepare a slice of cheese if you like the soup to have some cheesy taste. Spam can also be added. Korean restaurants would also add ddokpokki (떡볶이) and mandu (만두). Add that if you have the ingredients.
I bought premixed 부대찌개 sauce and 김치.  Add about 300ml of water into the pot.  Add all the ingredients.
When the sausage is almost cooked, add in 라면. Cook for another 5 mins and you have a pot of 부대찌개!
That's how easy it can be....해보세요 ^^

For more updates on food, 'like' my Facebook page.

Related Posts:
Singapore Style Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개 / Beancurd Stew) (click)
Cheese Ramyeon (치스라면) (click)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Korean Yellow Melon (참외)

Some weeks back, I bought this bright looking yellow melon, Chamae (참외), from a local supermarket.  This fruit is very common in Korea all year round from Spring to Winter.  The Korean melon season starts from spring to summer.  The fruits are harvested during that period and are kept subsequently in the chiller so that the fruit is available whole year round.

 


Similar to the types of melon fruits, there are seeds in the centre.  Can you eat it?  Yes, you can.  In fact, the centre section is the sweetest portion of the fruit.  The texture of the outer section has a soft crunch, just like the other melon fruits.  Do you need to peel it before eating?  Actually, there is no hard and fast way to go about it.  It depends on individual preference.  Generally, the skin can be eaten but if you prefer not to, then it is alright to peel it.  This fruit is known to be rich in Vitamin A and C, folate, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.  During the hot summer weather, this fruit gives us more energy to fight the fatigue.


Typically, the fruit is cut vertically and can be cut into thinner slices that what you see in the above picture.  It is best eaten when chilled.  For live demonstration on how to prepare the cut fruit, watch this youtube video.



For updates on food, 'like' my Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Singapore to Seoul Airfare Promo (Korean Air) [Ended]

If you're planning to visit Korea between 17 Jun to 31 Oct 2013, don't miss this promotion!  It is really a good deal!  All in fare from SGD655!

Visit their website for further details http://www.koreanair.com/index_sg_eng.jsp


Related Posts:
Minjungak Guesthouse at Jeju, Seogwipo City (click)
Flight Options to Jeju (click)

For more food updates, do visit my Facebook page!

Monday, June 03, 2013

[Korean Food] The Pajeon (파전) Drink - Makgeolli (막걸리)

Each country has it's own beverage.  For Korea, there are 2 very popular alcoholic beverages - Soju (소주) and Makgeolli (막걸리).  Let's talk more about Makgeolli.  It is an ancient alcoholic drink that dates back a few thousand years ago.  It is made from a mixture of fermented wheat and rice, native to Korea.  It's alcohol content is about 6% to 8%.  The drink is available off-the-shelve (in can or bottle form) and at the restaurant (in a bowl). 

When consumed at the restaurant, the service staff may ask if you would like makgeolli or saeng makgeolli.  The difference is that saeng makgeolli does not go through the heat sterilization process and thus, the micro-organisms in the drink isn't eliminated and as such, carbonic acid retains in the drink.  The shelf-life is much shorter compared to sterilized (salgyun) makgeolli which typically last for about 6 months.

The taste of makgeolli is quite mild and goes down well quite easily with any food.  Nonetheless, the alcohol content is still higher than beer, and for those who seldom, it is best to savour the drink slowly and enjoy the slight tint of rice taste.  For the Koreans, it is common to see them drink makgeolli while eating pajeon (fried pancake).


How is it served in the restaurants?  Makgeolli is served in a big bowl and they are scooped into the smaller cups for drinking, using the wooden scoop.  The serving portion is about the size of 1 plastic bottle at approx. 750ml.

At more casual restaurants, the drink can be served in metal bowls.


It is said that makgeolli is a beneficial drink.  It contains good bacteria that is similar to yogurt.  According to the owner of Jeju Makgeolli, Mr Koh Sang Hoo, one bottle of makgeolli is equivalent to 100 small containers of yogurt. It is rich in vitamin B and is high in fiber.

If you happen to be in Jeonju, you may even get to see live demonstration on the makgeolli making process at the Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum, which takes place on the 3rd Saturday of each month, at 2pm to 4pm.  Details is available here (in English) and here (in Korean). ^^

In Singapore, Makgeolli is available at most Korean supermarkets and occasionally at local supermarkets.


[This post can also be found on The Korea Blog]

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Summer Desserts - Patbingsu and Ice Kacang

For country like Singapore where we do not have 4 distinctive seasons, we have perhaps missed out the fun of enjoying things that others living in seasonal countries do.  Besides the change in fashion or experiencing seasonal activities such skiing, cherry blossoms, we also missed out the fun of enjoying food that are in season as the weather changes.

As the temperature rises from sub-zero to now hitting a high of almost 30 degrees in Korea, summer dessert patbingsu (팥빙수), a shaved ice dessert topped up with generous serving of red beans, fruits, ice cream and rice cake, is a common dessert that runs from June to perhaps mid October.  It could come with different variety such as even green tea or coffee flavours.

While in Jeonju last year, I tried this delicious bingsu.  What made this bingsu memorable was the black sesame paste that was drenched onto the shaved ice.  The white pieces are plain rice cakes while the green centre piece was green tea rice cake.  The sweet taste for this dessert was mainly from the generous portion of the sweetened red beans that topped over the shaved ice.




Oh well, in Singapore.  While there are now many Korean restaurants serving steamboats, BBQ and many other dishes, I can hardly find any Korean dessert shops. The solely existing cafe that serves bingsu is Seoul Yummy.  The tall ice cream attracts all the attention away from patbingsu, didn't it?


In any case, Singapore do have our own version of shaved ice dessert, Ice Kacang.  With our historical connection with Malaysia, kacang is a Malay word for red beans.  If you wonder where the red beans are, they are covered by the ice.  In fact, other than red beans, the other hidden ingredients include sweet corns, attap seeds (palm seeds) and jelly.  There are different varieties too for the Singapore shaved ice.  How about one that's topped off with Hershey's Chocolate Syrup like what you see in this picture?  ^^



For more updates on food, 'like' my Facebook page.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

3D Latte Art

Latte art has entered into an evolution stage from 2D to now 3D.  The pictures of hearts and ferns on your cappuccino or expresso, which started in the 1980s, will soon become a passé.  Japanese 3D latte artist Kazuki Yamaoto has brought this brought this foamy art to a new level.  Some of these photos have been circulating on the internet lately.  They are simply too amazing not to be shared.

Most of the pictures are still in 2D drawing but starting to deviate from the heart or fern designs.
 

 
For some art, instead of the typical milk and coffee colour, more colours have been used to make the pictures come alive.
 
 
The quantum leap into 3D latte art.  I am truly amazed at the giraffe art.  It looks exactly like a giraffe soft-toy that you'd get from a toy shop.  For some Running Man fans, oh well.. it probably reminds them of Lee Gwang Soo.
 


This was the picture that caught my attention.  It looks like a real 3D painting depicting a playful cat eyeing at the fishes in a tank!
 


To craft such interesting art is certainly no easy feat.  It seems to be a nice balance between art and science.  Not only the artist has to have an eye for the artistic details, it also requires precision skills in achieving the balance in proportion so that the object becomes alive.  *Salute*

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