SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

September 28, 2010

What should I blog about Bangkok

Filed under: Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 4:19 am

Been to Bangkok many times but this is actually my first time in Bangkok as a blogger. So I am pretty excited to capture my experience and turn it into blog posts. Since I love food and Thailand being one of the countries that is well known for it’s superior food, food is definitely going to be my main topic. I wasn’t really feeling well when I arrived and I haven’t been really eating those Thai spicy food. Yesterday night I felt a bit better and the first thing I did was to indulge myself with a big pot of spicy Tom Yum seafood. There’s more to Thai food rather than just the ever popular Tom Yum. Since I do not speak Thai, it is always easy to just order Tom Yum. It has became a ritual to me, my Thailand trip would not be completed if I did not eat Tom Yum.

Also another common dish that I ordered was the Crab Meat Fried Rice. The fried rice cost me 40BHT ( 1.30 USD ) and the Tom Yum seafood soup 100 BHT ( 3.30 USD ). The Tom Yum is actually good for 2 person. The meal is definitely cheap by any standard.

My Tom Yum Seafood. In the soup it has fish meat, squid, shrimp and mushrooms. I might want to go to those 1 day cooking classes just to learn more about Thai spices. The cooking schools are more for tourist rather than aspiring chef or cook.

I just love the pot that is being used to serve the Tom Yum soup.

The tasty Crab Meat Fried Rice. The amount of crab meat in the fried rice is so generous. Every bite there’s crab meat in it, so for 40 BHT is really a good price. Normally I would eat this with fish sauce and bird’s eye chili. Since I just got well, I don’t wanna push my luck. Just sacrifice one meal without the spicy chili and I can enjoy my future meals through out my stay here.

September 23, 2010

Briyani rice in Indian restaurant

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 4:22 am

My last post I was raving about how easily one can try different ethnic dishes in Singapore. I normally get my Indian food in Little India, Apollo Curry House. Whenever friends from abroad come visit, this is where I normally would bring them. Mel Gibson ate here once when he came over for some private business and it was featured in the newspaper. I am not using his name to justify why this is my favorite restaurant. Just because he is a famous actor doesn’t mean he knows good Indian food right. I think is much safer to trust my recommendation rather than his. I might not be a famous actor but I am no woman beater for sure.

This time I did not go to Apollo Curry House in Little India, as I felt a little bit lazy to take the MRT. I’ve noticed an Indian restaurant near where  I’m living for a few years now but I’ve never gave them a try. So based on my experience on identifying a decent food joint, I would say Brinda’s will not disappoint. They have been operational for a few years now and if the food is not good, I don’t think they can afford to pay the rent.

Just took a 7 minutes bus ride and I’m there. I invited a friend to come along so that we can order more variety of food if need be. Brinda’s does not operate like a normal Indian babana leaf restaurant. It is more like a fast food restaurant but instead of burgers, you get authentic Indian food.

As we entered, were greeted by friendly staffs at the counter with uniforms. I tend to avoid fast food joint but since I’m already there, I would just give it a try and not be picky. Saw the menu at the back of the counter and one staff was explaining the set meal at the same time. I decided to order the chicken briyani rice set and my friend opted for the mutton version. It cost us SGD6.30 for each and with an additional of SGD1, you get a drink of your choice.

It took them less than 5 minutes to serve us our choices of food and I gladly paid them. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, my friend ordered an extra serving of chicken masala as it looks really good and he can’t resist it. Since his set is mutton, he wants to taste the chicken too. I’m not worried as he is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of food. He can be like the character in Eraser or the Terminator. If the food is good, he will happily declare, “I’ll be back”.

This is my chicken briyani set and it comes with cucumber raita ( cucumber with yogurt ), some dhal sauce and curry sauce. Papadam was also served, but most people who is not familiar with Indian food call it Indian chips. If you look properly, there’s a big piece of chicken buried inside my briyani rice. Also hidden in the rice was a boiled egg. What a nice surprise, is only an egg but I felt like discovering some hidden treasure.

I think the food is good and worth the money. But if you are having Indian food for the first time, I suggest you do it in a non fast food type of restaurant. In non fast food type of Indian restaurant, you just need to sit down and they will serve you. If you can really eat, you can top up the non meat item like rice, vegetables, papadam and gravy without paying any extra. I’m not sure Brinda’s allows that. I am not sure how much I paid in those non fast food restaurant before. I wasn’t into food blogging then and I didn’t pay much attention. I just asked my friend after the meal if he would come back to Brinda’s if he craves for Indian food one of these days. He just said, “I’ll be back”!

Blk 162, Bukit Merah Central, #01-3533
Singapore 150162
Tel  : 62746327

September 20, 2010

Famous Nasi Padang in Hoy Fatt Road

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 11:27 pm

I can’t express how much I really love the food scene in Singapore. As most of you all know, Singapore is made up of Chinese, Malay and Indian. Even though the Malay and Indian make up 22% of the total population in Singapore, their food are available in every parts of Singapore. For example, if you are in the US, I’m sure you can find Indian food but it is not as easy as getting it in Singapore. Singaporean from different ethnicity has good knowledge on each other dishes. It is safe to say that when it comes to food of Asean region, Singaporean are pretty familiar with almost all of it.

Take this nasi padang joint for example. It is located in Hoy  Fatt Road and most of the customers are Chinese. This proves that the Chinese in Singapore has already accepted Malay dish as their daily staple. Is not something exotic anymore to them as they are very much exposed to Malay dishes.

The name of the stall is Istimewa Nasi Padang. When I arrived with my friend at 1.30pm ( lunch break for most office workers ), the que was very long. I had to fall in line and waited for 10 minutes before I can choose my food. I am still new to taking pictures of people queing up and those who are enjoying their food. It seems kinda rude of me to take their pictures without their consent. However, I managed to snap some pictures of the stall and the food that I ordered. The owner of the stall ( a nice Malay lady ) did asked me why I was taking the picture of her stall. I just told her that I wanted to blog about it as her stall is very popular. She just smiled and told me that she thought I wanted to take pictures and complain about her stall.

Beef rendang and Asam pedas side by side. Even though it is only 30 minutes into lunch break, most of the dishes are gone.

I ordered 2 pieces of fried chicken Malay style, one cucumber acar and sayur lodeh. I also asked for some sambal belacan and gulai ayam gravy ( gravy and sambal belacan is always given free in Malay stalls like this ). It cost us slightly below SGD10 with two plates of rice.

Istimewa Nasi Padang’s Sambal belacan tasted really good. The mixture of belacan and chili are well balanced. The color looked like the Chicken Rice chili dip but I can assure you the taste is totally different.

There are 2 ways of eating Nasi Padang. If you go alone, you just get a plate of plain rice and have all the dishes and gravy you want being placed on your plate of rice. If you go with a big group, you normally tell the server “makan hidang”. Makan hidang means that your dishes will be placed in individual plates for each dishes that you select. Then plain rice is being served separately. You can order hidang too if you go solo, but normally it will be slightly more expensive and not so practical.

September 18, 2010

Kway Chap is not white man friendly

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 12:39 pm

Whenever I eat a certain kind of food, I appraise the food mentality in my head whether the food can be accepted by the white folks. I love introducing new tastes to my Caucasian friends as our food taste totally the opposite. Sometimes what we find totally delicious might be totally gross to the Westerners.

Everybody in Singapore and Malaysia knows what Bah Kut Teh is. It’s a kind soup dish where pork ribs and spare parts like stomach and intestine are the main ingredient. The soup however has a little bit of herbal and Chinese medicine taste to it. Almost all pork lovers in Singapore love this dish but that cannot be said for Westerners.

I am guilty of being to eager to play host to a Belgium friend 1o years ago. I love introducing food to friends and I made the mistake of not understanding their taste buds. I took him to the best Bah Kut Teh joint in town and swore that he will love the food. He struggled to eat the food and I didn’t even notice. We got closer as friends and one day we were casually talking about how sometimes when people meet for the first time, the relationship is a little bit formal. You normally do not tell people what you like and dislike when you first meet.

Since we are so close now and we can utter words like “F@#K YOU” to each other in our daily conversation, he reminded me of that Bah Kut Teh incident. He almost fainted when he saw those intestine floating in the pot. He nevertheless try to eat it but hated it so much. He did not dare to say he hated it as I was being a sensitive prick and telling him how good the food is. Now that we are close, he told me the boiling tubes ( referring to the pork intestine ) are one of the worst food he ever tried. We just laughed about the incident and it made me more aware of introducing food to friends.

Now I normally introduce food to Western friends by stages.Sweet and sour pork, Egg Foo Yong, Chop Suey and many more are considered white man friendly food and after they tasted all of that, you can take some risk in trying to let them taste the more challenging stuff. Or better yet, wait till the day you can say Fuck You to your friends and only then you try to introduce them those funky food that you love so much. Oh and by the way, my  Belgian friend still doesn’t like Bah Kut Teh after all these years.

This is not Bah Kut Teh, this dish is known as Kway Chap. The soup is almost similar to Bah Kut Teh but instead of rice, Kway Teow is used and served along with almost every part of the pork. Bean curd and egg are normally used as well. The pork is normally cooked stew Chinese style.

This is the Kway Chap stall that I ordered my food in ABC food court in Jalan Bukit Merah. I need to get the habit of asking the stall owner of his address as he graciously allowed me to take his pictures while he is at work. Just look at all the varieties of food in the big pot. He can normally sell all that in a day without the help of Caucasian customers.

Close up of the Kway Chap vendor’s goodies. I am very certain that Filipino will love Kway Chap as I am quite familiar with the Pinoy taste buds.

September 13, 2010

Tea time Singapore style

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 9:57 pm

One of the coolest past time in Singapore is tea time. The Cantonese call it “Yum Cha”, the Hokkien call it “Lim Teh”, the Malay call it “Minum Teh” and the Indian call it “Teh Tani”. The meaning is all the same and the direct translation to English is Drink Tea. The Filipino normally call it mirienda.

Is not necessary that we have to drink tea but is just how we call it. You can actually drink coffee or even soft drink.  All the term above represents more to the occasion rather than the action of drinking tea. I love tea time in Singapore because the meal is more relax and casual. This is when you normally catch up with the latest office gossips while having a drink and nibble on some tea time dishes.

There are literally hundreds of tea time food ( I counted it real quick mentally and yep, I’m not bragging with my claim ) available in Singapore. Here are my choice of food when I had tea time session with a friend few days ago.

This is popiah and cucur udang. Popiah is known as lumpiang in Philippines but the popiah I had has no meat. Only bean sprout and turnip. Cucur udang is just flour mixed with some small shrimp, bean sprout and onion leaves. Taste really good with the special chili sauce.

I had some icy cold cendol kacang instead of tea. This is quite similar to halo halo but is made of some green pandan jelly, coconut milk, gula melaka and red beans. I think if cendol is being sold in the Philippines, it can give halo halo a good run for it’s money.

Nowadays the young generation prefers to have tea time in Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Over priced cheese cake and coffee are preferred as it is way cooler to be seen having tea in these coffee joints. I still prefer having my tea in the local food court as it is way cheaper and I prefer the selection of food offered. Maybe I am just a cheap bastard.

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