Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Eating Saga Begins!

Boy, does it feel good to be back home! I've been feeling increasingly disconnected over the past few years and I decided this could not continue. Thus it was with much aplomb and anticipation that I touched down on the wet runway yesterday night.

And guess what? It isn't unbearably hot here, not after what we have been experiencing in Sydney all summer. In fact, I thought the weather was cooler!

It is incredibly well-known that Singapore is a food paradise. On my arrival, I was whisked away to One Degree 15, a yacht club in Sentosa - where my sis' wedding is to be held - for a taste run of the banquet menu. What a great way to start off my holiday!

The menu doesn't sound half bad eh? And look at the wine-glass chandelier! How innovative is that?

Both my family and the groom's family were present for the tasting. Each dish was introduced to the table before it was portioned and served. Our job was basically to taste the food and fill in our comments. Oh I could do this for a living...

For Chinese banquet menus, the first dish is typically a cold dish and usually consists of a few different types of food. We were each served a portion of chilled prawn, marinated octupus, cold strands of jellyfish laced with a peanut sauce, crunchy spring rolls, coin-shaped grilled 'bak kwa' (Chinese-style grilled jerky) and sides of sliced cucumbers. The octupus, prawns and bak kwa were delicious, but the jellyfish could have done with more sauce. Perhaps living in Sydney also turned me off fried spring rolls - it was normal and pretty much impressionless.

The next dish was absolutely decadent - braised baby abalone in chicken stock. My animal-loving sis couldn't bear the thought of any sharks bobbing out there without their fins, so sharks fin was decidedly kept off the menu. Good on her and and excellent substitute it was. We were each generously given a whole baby abalone - the flesh was the perfect texture: soft, sweet and yielding. The stock it was braised in was warm and rich in chicken and abalone juices. This is the best soup I've ever tasted! I likee!

Sitting there in total bliss, our empty bowls were quietly removed and replaced with plates of Szechuan chicken. I enjoyed the satisfying crunch of the batter as it gave way to a moist and juicy interior. The sauce was a bit on the sweet and almost ketchupy side, but it was delicately accented with a floral note which I thought was rather pleasant. It's a no for the bridal couple though - it'll be replaced by another chicken dish. The yam ring was delicious but could also do with more sauce.

Another typical Teochew dish is steamed fish with salted veggies. It's definitely not as bland as it sounds. The sea bass was firm and sweet and had just the right amount of saltiness. Slurping good. The big juicy shitake mushrooms paired with broccoli was also really good, although everyone seemed to think it could be a little fancier and tastier (probably a good sprinkling of scallops on the top?) After all they ARE shelling out quite a fair amount and want their dues.

Dessert had to be the next best thing in the menu - walnut cream (creme de noix) with lotus seeds and glutinous rice balls. The table was filled with an approving silence as the warm, sweet, creamy concoction slid down their throats. I'm def leaving space for this!

*Burps* Happy is me! Just wished ma petite truffe could be here too to enjoy this!

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