Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Gyros Party At Home

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

It was my niece's 10th birthday a few months back (Happy birthday M!) and I was so impressed with the house party her parents threw for her.  They managed to feed a crowd the size of a small army (I estimated at least 50 people) and managed to do this without seeming too flustered or resentful (as I tend to get in a similar situation).

The clever parents decided to serve gyros which they cooked over coals in the backyard.  The meat itself (chicken, lamb, beef, pork - all domesticated animals were well represented) were purchased pre-skewered at the Greek shop, salads and accompaniments were easily pulled together from the supermarket.  The tzatziki was bought - and voila! - a fun meal where everyone can assembled their own gyros to their liking.

Is there anything better than the smell of chargrilled meats? Wait, yes there is - chargrilled cuttlefish! Cuttlefish on the open flame is the ultimate in smell-unami.  It is reminiscent of holidays in South East Asia, strolling pass street vendors selling their wares on a balmy night.  Put a few cuttlefish on the barbie and it would blow your mind.  My brother in law, two of his friends and I quickly snaffled up the coveted crispy cuttlefish between us before anyone else gets their paws onto it.

An incredibly meat-ccentric gyros assembled by Kiddo. 

A more balanced gyros
 Anything goes...

I have been informed that the spit is purchased from Bunnings for $80 or thereabouts.  I found YouTube clip of the spit in action by Vinygee if you would like further details.

In summary - a great idea for feeding a crowd.

Until next time...

Grand Noodle

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Grand Noodle is a good solid takeaway staple for those nights where you just can't be faffed.  They do a more Westernised take on the standard hawker store noodles and rice dishes.  The serving sizes are decent and the service is quick - no mucking about.

Our standard order (for we are predictable people) include:

Curry Laksa
 Their curry laksa had loads more veggies than the more traditional curry laksa, which is actually a positive.

Nasi Goreng
Their Nasi Goreng had plenty of BBQ within and not too spicy which made it family friendly.

Char Kwai Teow
 So this may not be the most authentic tasting Char Kwai Teow I have ever tasted but as stir fried noodles go, it tasted more than fine.  Better than what I am capable of.

In summary - Grand Noodle, a handy go-to takeaway place.  It might not be authentic hawker stall fare but it tastes more than fine, service is quick and serves are substantial.

Grand Noodle on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Food Travelogue, Singapore Part 4 - Rasapura Masters

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Whilst we were in Singapore we ate at Rasapura Masters practically daily.  Firstly it was conveniently located in the Marina Bay Sands complex where we were staying but mainly because it served the most delicious tasting Hainanese Chicken I have ever ever tasted (no exaggeration, I used to hate Hainanese Chicken but now I'm a convert).  It was only after I got home that I Googled Rasapura Masters website and realised Rasapura means "City of Taste".  The whole concept of Raspura Masters was to offer all the multi-cultural experiences of Singaporean street food all in one place.

Here are some of their offerings:

The best Hainanese Chicken in the world, in my humble opinion
I could end this post right here, quite frankly.  Although very unassuming in this photo, the Hainanese Chicken rice was ah-maaa-zing.  The chicken was silken smooth and flavourful.  The rice was chickeny without being greasy.  I had my epiphany moment - "Ah, so that's what Hainanese Chicken should taste like" . It made me realised all the Hainanese Chicken I've had before was just plain old steamed chicken. It came with clear chicken broth which Kiddo knocked back so I can't comment on how the broth tasted but presumably it tasted fine as it disappeared very quickly.  We added to the order with soya eggs and bok choy.

Naan and curry
Another very moreish eats at Rasapura Masters was the tandoor store.  The smell of the naan fresh from the tandoor was just beckoning from across the complex.

Chinese BBQ
We also tried out the Chinese BBQ stall.  This was a combo plate with roast duck and pork.  It tasted ok but paled in comparison with the Hainanese Chicken and naan.

Most dishes at Rasapura Masters were under $20.  The Hainanese Chicken is well worth a look-in.  For details of Rasapura Masters go here.

Until next time...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Dandenong Market - What's To Eat There?

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Over the years, various friends and acquaintances have been mentioning the food stalls in Dandenong Market as a place to go for cheap, authentic ethnic foods.  I ventured out there for the first time a few Sundays ago and was not disappointed.  Being a Sunday, I found out that some of the food stalls were closed but enough were open to give me an idea of what it is all about and to sample a few.

I was most impressed with the dumpling caravan named Sansan.  They had a special on - six dumplings with various fillings (seafood, chicken, pork, etc) served with a large piece of chicken breast schnitzel, prawn crackers and a drink for $9.  The dumplings were exquisite - the wrappers were very silken in texture and one of the thinnest I have ever tasted.  Apparently the dumplings are hand made.  The fillings were juicy and flavourful even though I couldn't really tell the difference between the various fillings.  The chicken schnitzel, well, hey, it's a schnitzel and all schnitzels are universally loved by me.  On the whole, very good value for a delicious lunch.  

Sansan - the pick of the eats at Dandenong Market

Big pile of yum - dumplings, schnitzel and prawn crackers

Check out how thin the wrappers of the dumplings were
I also sampled the Doughworks caravan which served Turkish style bread and kebabs.  The place was really busy and I thought - surely that is a sign of good eating to be had?  A lady was rolling out dough for the bread and it was quite an impressive show.  

A bit of live dough rolling action

The customer service unfortunately at Doughworks was a little lacking.  I placed my order and after dutifully waiting for 5 - 10 minutes realised they had forgotten my order.  So I queued up and gave my order again to another lady.  Other lady promptly forgets my order and asked me a few minutes later whether I would like to order anything.  Grr... By that stage I was beyond waiting and wanted to give up but since I have already paid, persisted in waiting and waiting.  The guy assembling the kebabs added insult to injury by declaring that my order is coming but it is in the back of the queue as all these other people (and he sweeps his arms out) orders were ahead of mine.  After waiting an interminable period of time for my chicken kebab, chips and drink ($11), I was disappointed that the kebab was rather ordinary.  The chips were tasty but then again, it was crop dusted with chicken salt and flavour enhancers,.  

Kebab - not worth the wait or aggravation

Kiddo sampled a spring roll from one of the Asian stalls and declared it delicious.  

Spring rolls purchased from here
I'll finish off with a few random photos of the food related surroundings:

Cooking demo at The Kitchen

Dandenong Market - worth exploring.  I would just go for the Sansan dumplings alone.  

Official Dandenong Market website -  go here for opening hours and stall details.  

Until next time..

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Shanghai Garden Dumpling

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Purely in the name of investigative reportage and not for gluttonous reasons, I have tried many a dumpling places of late.  I present to you the first in a series to come of dumpling reviews.  Shanghai Garden Dumpling apparently makes their own buns and dumplings from scratch daily.

I very much enjoyed their Pan Fried Chive Pancake ($6.80).  It was filled with chives (obviously) but also with glass noodles and dried shrimp.  The pancake had a warm toasted/char taste and it was not soggy at all given the moist interior.

Pan fried chive pancakes
We also ordered the Pan Fried Pork Soup Buns ($7.90).  P declared these to taste just as good as the ones he lined up on the streets for in Shanghai.  But I found these very greasy with a overwhelming porky aftertaste.  

Pan fried pork soup buns
 They redeemed themselves with the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings ($7.00).  The wrapper were thin and slippery which made the dumplings themselves very light.  They were deliciously crisp underneath and the filling inside wasn't too greasy.  I would highly recommend these dumplings!

Pan fried dumplings
I would definitely return for the dumplings and the chive pancakes and perhaps also try some of their Shanghainese noodle and rice dishes.

Shanghai Garden Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Until next time...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne & Qantas Lounge Singapore

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

I was very lucky to be able to have brekkie at Qantas' First Class Lounge in Melbourne airport before flying out to Singapore.  It sure beats grabbing a bacon McMuffin at the old airport Maccas!  The breakfast items are all cooked to order.  The waiter was very cognizant of time contraints and requested our flight details in order to time our food service accordingly.  The customer service was impeccable, as one would expect from a first class lounge.

Kiddo ordered herself a brioche roll filled with bacon, relish and fried egg with a side of hash brown.

I had an assortment of sauteed spinach, bacon, mushrooms, poached eggs, hash brown with sourdough.  It was a big breakfast compared with what I normally would eat but it kept me going until I got on the plane...and ate even more breakfast!

Chefs at work, Qantas Lounge Melbourne

On the way back home from Singapore, we checked out the newly done up Qantas Lounge in Changi airport.  At Changi, they had a self service buffet with an array of salads, sweets and hot foods.  An example of the hot foods is the plate below filled with pilaf, chicken cacciatore, sauteed veggies.

The kitchen also served a selection cooked to order dishes.  Pictured below is the stir fried beef served with rice.  The dishes were hearty and well executed.  It was lovely to just fill up the tum before a night flight.  I was definitely ready for a nap after that.

Here is the salad selection.  They also had a cocktail bar in full service.  I'm kicking myself in retrospect for not trying out a few drinks the bar tender was mixing for everyone.

Salad selection from salad bar

In summary, love the food in the Qantas Lounges both in Melbourne and Changi airports.  It is sometimes hard to eat well when travelling but the lounges never fails to provide healthy hearty meals for the hungry and peckish traveller.  Please see here for our post on the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney.

Until next time...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Madelines at Jells Park

Hello Fellow Nom  Seekers!

Madelines is a cafe situated within the picturesque Jells Park.  Because of it's location it makes it a convenient place for an apres sportif coffee / lunch / brunch.  There is a indoor cafe area as well as an alfresco dining and a even more casual kiosk opening for coffee orders.  Being a cafe in a park, it naturally is bike and scooter friendly.

After a brisk walk in the bracing wind around the lake, we headed to Madelines for coffees and a wee snack.  The staff were very friendly and Kiddo received an activity sheet to keep her occupied.  The wood fire was roaring which was a much needed comfort on a wintery day.

The food service came rather promptly however there was a bit of a wait for the beverages (10 - 15 mins).
We ordered a latte;  hot chocolate for Kiddo;  green tea and their "Meat Platter" ($17) which is more or less an antipasto plate to share.  The Meat Platter came with salami, proscuitto, bococini; semi sun dried tomatoes, marinated eggplant, fetta, rocket salad, grilled capsicums, grisini and lavosh.  It was surprisingly filling with the coffees as a snack between four people.


Hot chocolate

Green tea

Meat platter

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was the best antipasto plate ever to be constructed or the best coffees/teas brewed.  But the view is magnificent, it's convenient for park goers and it's child friendly which makes Madelines worth visiting.  

Madeline's at Jells on Urbanspoon

Until next time...
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