Thursday, 28 July 2016

Food Tasting: Barashi-Tei

Yup, it's that time again. The time when I look at the numbers on the weighing scale and say, "who cares!" 

Located at a corner along Middle Road, Barashi-Tei is founded by Chef Wang Zhen Feng, with the 
Founder and Chef, Mr Wang Zhen Feng is proud to present Barashi-Tei, his new Japanese restaurant which serves only dishes made with freshest ingredients air-flown from Japan. 
Chef Wang picked up his culinary skills from a 60-year-old Japanese Master Check, who has more than 40 years of experience. 


If you're working around the area (they're right across the street from Peace Centre), you'll be glad to know that Barashi Tei also provides a wide variety of set meals that are extremely affordable.

The restaurant interior was kept minimalist and simple, and was pretty busy on a Friday night.
And now, let's move on to what's important. The food!

 Avocado Salmon Salad - $13.80

 Sashimi Salad - $13.80

Both salads come with a combination of fresh greens and cherry tomatoes, but the avocado salmon salad comes with sliced avocados and seared salmon while the sashimi counterpart comes with, well, sashimi (salmon, maguro, mekajiki etc)! 
Albeit fragrant and a little sweet, the salad dressing is quite salty, so it's best to add it in little by little and tasting your salad until you got the taste you want. 

Chirashi Don - $23

With yummy Japanese rice air flown directly from Japan, and generous slices of fresh sashimi (salmon, white tuna, mekajiki, maguro), tamago and topped with ikura, this is a must try for all those sashimi lovers out there.
Personally, I will not eat any sashimi (except for hokkigai) in Singapore due to the fishy taste in almost ALL the sashimi despite of how 'fresh' they supposedly are and they always lack the slightly chewy texture (meaning they're really not that fresh anymore) and tends to be mushier and well, just meh.
But the mekajiki I tried was so fresh! There's no fishy smell at all and the texture was springy yet not overly 'crunchy' and tasted really sweet.

Bara Chirashi Don - $13.80

This don is just like the Chirashi Don, but with the sashimi and tamago cut into smaller bite size and then toss in some cucumbers as well. For someone who doesn't really enjoy eating raw fish, I will prefer the Bara Chirashi over Chirashi as the 'rawness' is more managable.

Sake Jyu - $16.80

Maguro Nakaochi Don - $16.80

And if you only like salmon sashimi or only maguro sashimi, fret not! You can always go for Sake Jyu or Maguro Nakaochi Don instead. 

Aburi Bara Chirashi Don - $16.80

Can't take so much rawness in a bowl (like yours truly)? Then there's Aburi Bara Chirashi for you, with the sashimi seared (hence cooked on the outside and raw on the inside) and topped with avocados and ebikko. 

Spicy Salmon Maki - $12.80

Crispy ebi fry wrapped in yummy sushi rice and topped with fresh seared salmon and yummy spicy sauce!
Absolutely love the sauce, slightly spicy and savoury and complements the seared salmon really well.

Rice Paper Ebi Maki - $10.80

This reminds me of the vietnamese paper rolls, but so much tastier. (Sorry, the only experience I had with Vietnamese paper rolls is a bad one). The rice paper was really thin and soft, giving a barely there texture and the lettuce was crisp and fresh, which tones down the oiliness of the ebi fry.
I would have preferred to not have the tamago inside though, the sudden coldness and sweetness from the tamago was a little 'shocking' when you were happily chewing through the hot and savoury ebi fry.

Smoked Duck Kushi - $2.60

This is for all the smoked duck lovers out there, now you get them on skewers! How cool is that. Moreover, instead of the usual thin and relatively tough slices, the smoked duck kushi is cut into cubes, probably for a better bite. The meat is also much softer and more tender than the usual smoked duck slices you find in the market. 

Yaki Tamago - $5

Didn't know that the yaki tamago will be cold, hence was a little surprised when I bite into it and felt the chills instead. HAHAHA! Sensitive teeth, poor me. 
Not a fan of tamago at all because I would expect the egg to be savoury but I get 'tricked' every time (they're sweet). But if you love tamago for their sweet taste, this is the dish for you.

Kuruma Ebi - $7.80
(pan fried prawns with kuruma sauce)

Wasabi Ebi - $7.80
(deep fried prawns with wasabi sauce)

I love how the prawns are all shelled. Heh! The prawns are definitely fresh and not overcooked, retaining their springy texture and with a juicy sweet taste. 
Sauce wise, I will prefer the savoury kuruma sauce as I'm not a fan of wasabi. The wasabi sauce here doesn't come with the pungent-spicy kick though, more like the usual wasabi-mayo sauce. 
Both sauces are really rich and thick, and you might need to spread it evenly around all the prawns to avoid an overkill on your tastebuds.

Ika Teriyako - $13.80

Well, that's really a huge grilled squid, isn't it? I personally found the squid a little overdone, hence too chewy and a little tough. Or perhaps big squid just tends to have tougher flesh?

Sirloin Steak & Foie Gras - $19.80

Haha, Oyhz's favourite foie gras on steak. I don't eat both. Steak due to religion, and foie gras because... not an organ eater.
Oyhz seemed to enjoy this very much though.


You probably can't see it very well on pictures, but the insides of the steak was still pinkish!

 Gindara Nabe - $24

This just screams, "COMFORT FOOD!" The gindara (also known to Japanese as Black Cod) really suited the dish very well due to their 'fatty' smooth and rich texture that complement a soup really well. It really just swims down your throat.
The soup was both savoury and sweet while the gindara extremely fresh and springy. This is definitely the dish I will crave for on a cold and rainy day.

Pudding of the Day (Orange) - $3.80

The pudding is harder and more solid than the usual pudding I've had before and reminds me of sweeten condensed milk. A tad too sweet for me, but might be the dessert for you if you're a fan of rich and sweet puddings. 

Barashi-Tei is located at
266 Middle Road
Elias Building
Singapore 188991

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Food Tasting: South & North Okinawa Gelato

Craving for some icy treats in the sweltering heat these days but on a diet? 
Well, cut yourself some slack and grab yourself some Gelato!
We all know by now, that gelato is superior to just the standard ice creams as they're more flavourful and contains much less fats for they uses milk (instead of heavy cream for ice cream) and far fewer egg yolks. Most of the gelato in the market contains about 5% fat while their ice cream counterparts ranges between 15 - 30%.


South & North is a gelato brand from the island of natural goodness - Okinawa. 
They're voted the best gelato in Okinawa, and is also the choice gelato in Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. 

What makes South & North unique is that the milk in their gelato comes from two different location: one from Yamakawa Natural Farm Milk in Hokkaido and the other from Miyahira Dairy Milk in Okinawa. Hence, the name South & North. 
To allow their customers to get a feel for Okinawan tradition, culture and history through their food, South & North makes their gelato using traditional confectionery and manufacturing methods of Okinawa. They also take great pride in producing the natural finest, visiting Okinawan farmers and producers to select the finest ingredients and preparing them the right way to ensure that their gelato reflects the flavour of the ingredients at their very best, with no artifical colourings or flavourings to enhance the taste. 
Unlike popular brands with local flavours like Gula Melaka, Milo, Salted Caramel or the usual hot favourites of Italian gelato like Pistachio and Chocolate, South & North uses natural flavours found in Okinawa, some of which might raise a few eyebrows; like bittergourd, but it's not yet made available in SG yet. 

Right to Left: Tarama Brown Sugar, Nuchi-masu Salt (Salty Milk), Red Tea from Oku, Kunigami (Black Tea)

Tarama Brown Sugar: Made in Tarama Village. This gelato offer a sweetness with a complex, mineral-rich finish.

Salty milk : Made using Nuchi masu salt. Seawater is drawn off the coast of Miyagi Island. This sea salt contain high in minerals and it can accentuated the creaminess of the milk flavor.

Red Tea : Made in Kunigami Village. A unique Okinawa tea leaves from Inzatsu Assam variety offer an full aroma character.

Right to Left: Matcha, Okinawan Tofu, Purple Sweet Potato

 Matcha : Using tea leaves from Shizouka Prefecture, this gelato has intense yet slightly bitter after-taste. Great for matcha lover who is looking for the real matcha “kick”.

Okinawan Tofu : Made in Nanho city. Okinawan tofu, being extremely high in protein, is often referred to as “longevity food”. The overall gelato is gently rich with the taste of Okinawa soybeans.

Purple Sweet Potato : From Yomitan village and Miyako island. The purple sweet potato is made into velvety paste before blending into the gelato. The overall taste combined a mild sweetness and intense sweet potato taste, like a puree. 

Green Shikwasa Sorbet
Made in Ogimi village. The tangy sweetness of the green fruit (very similar to lime) is surprising refreshing and fruity. 

Not on display: Ishigaki Cream Cheese and Meyer Lemon Yogurt.

Ishigaki Cream Cheese : Made in Ishigaki Island using milk from Jersey cows. It’s mild, yet refined.

Meyer Lemon yogurt : Meyer Lemon is a natural hybrid of lemon and orange. We made this into a unique yogurt as a suitable alternative after heavy dinner.


Out of the 9 flavours I've tried, there's a few that I liked at first bite. 
Matcha - Seriously, what's not to like about a good, rich tasting Matcha gelato with just the right amount of distinctive bitter aftertaste? Actually I wouldn't even call that bitterness, I'll just call it the 'tea taste'. 
Red Tea (Black Tea) - Well, if they've done a great job with Matcha, they shouldn't do the other tea badly, right? The taste of this flavour is both rich and yet subtle. Rich, because the tea fragrance is really strong and subtle, because the sweetness of the gelato is mild and pleasant. 
Salty Milk - The uniqueness of the salty, milky taste was quite pleasant. But having too much of it might 'tire out' the tastebuds (too jerlat).
Green Shikwasa Sorbet - Tangy, light and refreshing like a glass of ice cold calamansi drink, but without the unpleasant biting sensation on your tongue. 

As for the flavours that didn't go too well with my tastebuds, I guess it would be Okinawan Tofu and Cream Cheese. The latter, because I'm never a fan of cream cheese and the former, because it just taste like a mild-tasting soyabean milk and I really cannot stand the taste of it. 
Sorry, Okinawan Tofu, it's not you it's me. 


South & North doesn't have a permanent shop in Singapore yet, but they are in the mist of finalizing the location.
For now, they have a pop up store at Raffles Xchange (in front of TCC) and they will be selling their yummy gelato at only $4.90 per pre-packed cup until 29th July 2016.


Till then, 
Mia Foo

Friday, 22 July 2016

Mia's Review: Song Joong Ki FORENCOS 7 Days Masks

If you haven't heard of Song Joong Ki, you probably have been living under a rock. Previously one of the pioneer Running Man members, he has churned out some greatly popular dramas and movies such as Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) and The Wolf Boy (2012) and has been labelled the Flower Boy visual during the RM-8 (when RM has 8 members instead of 7 now) days. 
2 years of military service and a hit drama with Song Hye Kyo (Descendants of the Sun) was all it took to give his acting career a 2nd boost and many companies were just snapping him up to endorse their brands just so they can sell more.


 



Forencos, which stands for "For Environmental Cosmetics" was pretty quick to put Song Joong Ki on their sheet masks and came up with this 7 Days Mask. Song Joong Ki has always been known to have beautiful clear, baby-like skin, so this special collaboration didn't come as that much of a surprise. Just that I really didn't think that they would have printed his face on their packaging as well. 


Not being the cheapest sheet mask you can find in the market, I didn't want to try out the full set of 7 as they do not sell in single pieces. So I ended up buying only 3 out of the 7 types that I feel are more suitable for my skin type.


Tuesday - Volcanic Ash Detox Silk Mask

Friday - Gold Regenerating Silk Mask
Sunday - Black Pearl Brightening Silk Mask


First up, I love the material of the mask as it sticks to my skin perfectly and doesn't slide around/falls off as the essence dries up. After removing the mask, it requires only some light patting motion to let the remaining essence get absorbed into the skin and there's no more heavy and sticky feeling, and I wake up the next morning to smooth and supple looking skin! 

To get your hands on these mask, check out amazon.com or qoo10.com.sg

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 18 July 2016

Mia's Bangkok Travelogue: Gram

Our visit to Gram was an impromptu decision made the very morning we woke up and got ready slightly earlier than expected. It was 9 plus in the morning and we were googling frantically for cafes around our hostel (for my review of Analog Hostel, check it out HERE) that opens early enough for us to have our breakfast.
Through blog listing, we were first directed to 24 Owls, located at Ekkamai Soi 12, which is supposedly open for 24 hours. But that turned out to be a hoax (or they've changed their opening hours, who knows?) as they're closed when we reach at 10 plus in the morning and one of their staff told us they opens at 11am/1130am. 

Fortunately for us, the taxi we took to get to 24 Owls from our hostel was still making his u-turn out of the soi, hence we flagged him down again and directed him to Gram, located at Soi Sukhumvit 49, with their opening hours stated as 9am. 

And when we reached at about 1030am, they were open and we were their very first customers! 


Couldn't find #10 table tag to document our small joke-of-the-day in picture. Initially we all thought the cafe is called 10Gram as J has mistaken read pointer #10 of the blog list as part of the cafe's name. 


I was kind of disappointed to know that the cafe was extremely small and fully alfresco seating, with the unforgiving sun beating down on us as we ate our first meal of the day. Would have been an ideal dating place if Bangkok has cooler weather though.

Their latte was decent but seriously lacking in latte art. Due to the outdoor seating, a twig fell from the trees we were seating under and right into my cup of coffee too. 
How lucky of me.

Egg Royale 
Poached Egg, Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce


You can't go wrong with a well toasted English muffin, flavourful smoked salmon, well poached egg and topped with Hollandaise sauce. 
And here's some #eggporn for you. 

Creamy Crispy Egg
Deep fried egg, mixed mushroom in mushroom cream sauce

This is definitely a dish you shouldn't order when you're starving because there really is just ONE fried soft boiled egg with a miserably small crispy toasted baguette in a handful of mushroom that's drowned in flavourful mushroom cream sauce. 
But, can't deny that it's really yummy though. 

More #eggporn for you? 

 Soft Shell Crab Burger
Crispy Soft Shell Crab, Avocado and Sake Teriyaki sauce

This is just one messy eat.
I guess this will be a good choice if you love avocado like crazy (they literally stuffed the burger full of sliced avocado) and prefer a saltier taste for your burger.
Not for me though.
Avocado overdose with too salty sauce and totally unglam way of eating = a big nono.

Fruit French Toast
French Toast with mixed fruits and honey

This is my favourite dish of the day! 
My preciousssss....
The french toast was perfectly done, crispy on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside. And you can see they were extremely generous with all the fruit toppings (all my favourite strawberries, kiwis and bananas!) and drizzle of honey. 
The addition of toasted almond flakes also added a good crunch and fragrance to the dish. 
If you are a French Toast fan, you absolutely have to try this out! 

Ovaltine Volcano Pancake
Ovaltine, Oreo, Condensed Milk and Vanilla Ice Cream

I had great expectation for this dish, but was totally disappointed. I can't be sure if it's because we left the pancake for too long before eating it hence it has turned cold and the condensed milk has harden up the coating of ovaltine powder on the pancake, making every bite of the pancake just... torturous. 
And just judging by that generous serving of condensed milk, you can safely assume that this dish is only for those with a huge sweet tooth. 
Even I cannot....


And so, signing off with a rare (nicer looking) #flaylay food shot from yours truly.

Mains typically ranges in the 200 to 300 Baht range and you can get yourself stuffed to the brim with barely $20 SGD!

Gram is located at
Soi Sukhumvit 49, 1/F 49 Terrace
Nearest BTS: Thong Lo

Till then,
Mia Foo
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