Sunday, January 29, 2012

Singapore: Local Eats

Pan-fried Seabass @ Chinatown

Garlic Shrimp @ Chinatown

Chili Crab, Black Pepper Crab and Tiger Prawns with Golden Garlic @ Longbeach Seafood

Left to Right: Lemon ice tea, Kaya Toast (peanut & butter/sugar/milk), Laska, Hainanese Chicken Rice and Eggs Benedict.

The eggs benedict isn't something indigenous of the region but it was an interesting take on the dish, presentation-wise. Obviously, we couldn't say we've been to Singapore without having Hainanese Chicken Rice from the famous Tian Tian stall at the Maxwell Hawker Centre. To me, it was good but it wasn't mind blowing good. I think because we've grown up on Asian flavors that it wasn't a new taste to me. To give it some perspective, it was like a combination of Chicken Tinola and the broth from Laoya/Nilagang Baka.

Other items that we tried were White Carrot Cake (white carrot, rice flour dough, fried with egg, garlic, and diced scallions), Roti Prata (fried flour-based pancake), and Hokkien Mee (standard noodle dish that looks like pancit canton).

Everywhere we looked, there was a food court a few feet away. No one goes hungry here. The one thing you have to remember is to bring your own napkins. That's why it's so clean there. No napkins.


Nowadays, I only carry my Nikon with me on tastings and while on travel. I have my iPhone with me all of the time so I like using it to take photos of everyday eats. Recently I signed up for Instagram. I like the filters and the ease of sharing photos. While I like posting new blog posts, it takes a toll.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Singapore: Iggy's

Amuse Bouche - medley of heirloom tomatoes

Bread Service - sour dough

Foie Gras - pear, balsamic, candy (pop rocks)

Bread Service - baguette

Alba White Truffles - linguine, poultry jus, parmesan
Suckling Pig - tanba beans, chickpeas, natural jus

Strawberry - basil, cream cheese, oats

Iggy's is located at the Hilton Singapore off of Orchard Road. I was never a fan of "hotel" restaurants unless it was in Las Vegas. That's because I've never dined outside of the U.S. I guess Singapore restaurants are the exception.

Iggy's was my first real fine dining experience in Singapore. Unfortunately, I opted for the lunch menu because I wasn't willing to fork out SGD$275 for the Gastronomic dinner menu. Especially sight unseen since not many food bloggers in the U.S. have dined here. The lunch menu was 4-courses and set at SGD$85++. The white truffles was a supplement of SGD$9 per gram. Geez, just for lunch the price was already getting pretty steep.

Iggy's is currently ranked #27 on the S Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant. The experience was good but nothing ground breaking. The service staff were very attentive and knew how to cater to diners with big cameras. I guess had the dishes been more entertaining, I would have booked dinner reservations. Lunch was definitely the deciding factor as there were a wealth of new restaurants at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Then again, maybe if Iggy's served dinner and lowered the cost to about SGD$180-$195 then maybe but knowing Alinea is priced at US$215, the price was too steep for not having a head executive chef.

As a food-centric nation, Singapore has yet to succumbed to the fine dining scene. In the U.S., the It-thing is to dine at places you can't get a reservation at, regardless of the day of the week. I wouldn't be surprised if Waku Ghin dethrones Iggy's in its ranking. I'm looking for the "WTF-factor" and I didn't get it here.

* I'm aware that most fresh ingredients are imported from other countries but still, it's WAY too expensive.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Travel Log: Singapore

If you take the best of every metropolitan city in the world, you get Singapore. It's the world's cleanest city/country and now a food destination. Our trip to Singapore in November was an unexpected one. Hubs had to travel there for business. I still had a few vacation days to blow even after our two week trip to Europe. So without much thought, I decided to tag along and Singapore would be my vacation from my vacation. Why relax in San Diego when you can go to Singapore.

From the moment that I stepped out of the airplane, I knew I was in a vastly different place. The humidity will slap you in the face! I was like, "Whoa, where the f*** am I?" but that attitude changed once we got inside our cab and on our way to the hotel. Thankfully air conditioning was abundant everywhere.

It was here where I had my best meal/dish of 2011. And of all things, it was uni (sea urchin). I actually hate sea urchin because of its fishy taste but somehow there was something magical about this one dish I had at Waku Ghin. It completely changed my mind about it. Anyone who can change my mind about uni deserves a gold star because that stuff is nasty if it's not prepared properly.

All and all, this country was definitely food-centric. I can't wait to post the rest of the photos from this trip.

Travel Log: Marseille, France

Our last port stop before heading back to Barcelona was Marseille, France. Marseille is the second largest city in France behind Paris and the largest city along the coast of the Mediterranean sea. We wanted to do a local tour by train but it was sold out by 2pm. Instead, we explored on our own and found many shops and department stores easily accessible from the Vieux Port.

Since we didn't do a tour, we were able to have a quick bite at a local eatery, La Chope d'Or. The food was pretty good considering it was on one of the main tourist strips. I had steak frites (steak and fries) and Hubs had Moules-Frites (mussels and fries). I preferred Hub's dish as the broth in the dish was so rich and flavorful. I was dipping bread pieces into the bowl to get ever last ounce of it. So good. I regretted not taking photos of it. I don't know if you can ever go wrong with French fare. The food is too good to pass up.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Travel Log: Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Palma de Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain and is a major port city of the Balearic Islands. The famous attraction here is the La Seu, cathedral of Palma. In 1901, Antonio Gaudi was invited to restore the cathedral but decide not to complete it after working on it for ten years. It was eventually completed by Juan Rubio, Gaudi's pupil, and a colleague Gillem Reynes. With the amount of cathedrals we're seen throughout our trip, I almost feel holy. There was so many.