Kuromon Market in Osaka

I love visiting local markets for FOOD. The Kuromon Market is a short 2-3min walk from the Nippombashi Station. Had to pace myself and be selective bcos’ there’s only one stomach and so much food I wanted to try. These are some of my fav picks.

There are several seafood stalls around but they all looked pretty alright and prices stated upfront. So I simply picked one at random. Although they might seem a little touristy bcos’ hoards of tourist typically target the seafood shops, the food is fresh, delicious and value for money. I love the sea urchin in particular. It is very sweet and creamy. For the price I paid for a box, I can probably only get a few pieces in Sg.

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kuromon6The oden is a must try; tucked right at the end of one of the smaller alleys. The broth is flavourful and the daikon (radish) is so well done; soft and tasty. Definitely a comfort food ~kuromon1At the same shop, they sell stir fry large intestines and gizzards. Sooooo gooddd..kuromon3

The black sugar warabi is one of my favourite and possibly the best one I have eaten to date. The QQ texture is just about right and the black sugar flavour is fragrant and not overly sweet. kuromon4

The white strawberries that we had to try bcos it was a touristy thing to do. It was sweet but I didn’t think it was anything out of this world. But worth a try just for the experience.kuromon5

This has to be my favourite thing since I was 5. Never leave Japan without having this. Nobody does the red bean paste better than the Japs.kuromon7

xx dawnut xx

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Kopi Gu You @ Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop

One of oldest classic coffeeshop or kopitiam in Singapore where the smell of coffee roasts and charcoal fill the air. And people who venture there hang around for a good cuppa old school style.

You can check out the video by Aik Beng Chia here to get a feel of the place. I really like how he paired the video with the old classic record chinese tune. I would totally enjoy sitting in the coffeeshop all day with this kinda music playing in the background.

hsl6The coffeeshop pretty much maintained the old furniture and other knick knacks. Container and jars of cookies with an abacus sitting on the counter with plastic bags stacked in the background and milo tins sitting on old shelves. There was no need to tidy up. That’s the flavour of the past I guess.

This is uncle in his signature white singlet and striped blue PJ pants brewing coffee and toasting bread on good ole’ charcoal grill. This is a dying trade, it will be such a pity if no one takes over.hsl1

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You MUST try the Gu You (Butter) Kopi. This is what we call it in this part of the world. The ang mohs call it bulletproof coffee like it’s some super energy drink. You can google to read more about it. So yes. This is THE Gu You Kopi. hsl2It is coffee + condensed milk + a slab of salted butter. I am the kind of person who doesn’t spread butter on my bread unless it’s toasted. So the thought of drinking butter was a scary at first. Ya I know we down cupcakes and all made out of loads of butter without much thought but drinking butter? hmmm… But after I tried it, surprisingly it wasn’t as buttery as I thought it would be. And somehow the butter made the coffee really smooth. If I have to give a taste reference, it tasted like the Kopiko candy. It was really good! I typically order teas at coffeeshop bcos most of the time the coffee has that ‘sourish’ taste probably due to it being left standing for too long. This cuppa will cost you only S$1.20.

hsl4Coffee and toast always go together. So remember to order the kaya toast to pair with your coffee. Where can you find a slice of yummy kaya toast for S$0.60 these days! It is toasted on a charcoal grill and charred portions are carefully scraped off before kaya is spread on it with a slab of butter.hsl5

Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop
10 North Bridge Road S(190010)

Dawnut

 

The Muffin Man Tea Shop in London

The sister insisted that we have to visit The Muffin Man Tea Shop for their scones. So we scheduled this on the last day of our entire UK trip where we already had a good amount of scones around the cities we went to. And we were not disappointed 🙂muffinman2

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So since there were 3 of us, we ordered the Devon Cream Tea Set x 3 and they served it in this lovely tiered stand. You can see this phrase commonly used on the tea room menus. It’s a set of tea and scones served with jam (usually strawberry) and clotted cream (this is not a type of butter nor anything remotely close to whipped cream).

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Clotted cream originates in the south-west and is a silky smooth cream with a distinctive crust on the surface. It is made by heating unpasteurized cow’s milk which then is left in a shallow pan for many hours which causes the cream to rise to the surface and ‘clot’. It is hard to describe the texture and taste accurately but I would say the texture of the cream is somewhat smooth like nutella and the taste is light not too milky. Anyway, I think you will just have to go to UK to experience it for yourself :p This has to be one of the best clotted cream I have tasted so far. The other two tea rooms I have visited in the past few years that left quite an impression are Tudor Rose Tea Room in Plymouth and Sally Lunn’s in Bath, which I will share in my subsequent blog posts cos’ I haven’t blogged for soooo long and there is a backlog of posts! Geez….

What’s interesting is how Muffin Man serve their scones. They are served in halves and toasted; which I totally love. Cos’ it’s warm, crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. This is something I shall adopt when serving scones at home next time. It may look like a simple unassuming baked good but getting the fluffy texture right isn’t that easy. You will know when you bite into a good scone 🙂

The tea shop also has an extensive menu of sandwiches, cakes and other hot food. But if you only have stomach for one thing. Go for the scones 😉

The Muffin Man Tea Shop
12 Wrights Lane
London, UK

Opens: Mon – Sat (0800 – 2000), Sun (0900 – 2000)

xx dawnut xx

Bagel Factory in UK

This is one place I have to stop by to get my bagel fix whenever I set foot at Paddington Station. Their outlets are mainly situated at major travel hubs so it’s great for a quick bite or takeout. I usually do a takeout to bring onboard my onward train journey around UK.
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They have the breakfast and lunch menu. I have not tried the lunch menu as I usually pop by in the mornings. This is my FAVOURITE! The Big Breakfast! It has everything I like all in one. Bacon + Sausage + Omelette. You get to choose the type of bagel you want from a good variety. I like to go for sesame or poppy seeds. And you also get to choose to top it off with the good ole brown sauce or tomato sauce. As always, the bacon and sausages taste so good. The sausages are from Lincolnshire where the pork sausages are pretty famous. Apparently there is a recommended list of ingredients and proportions to make these sausages and there are even competitions to find the best pork sausages in Lincolnshire! My personal opinion, the yummiest sausages are the porky ones. Pork or nothing at all. Period.

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I always order the set meal so I get a bagel, crisps (potato chips) and a drink. The crisps culture is big in UK and for some strange reason I eat a lot of crisps when I am there. Probably more than what I eat in a year here in Sg. I think the crisps just taste fresher there. What I like is that even in the supermarkets, they sell the crisps in small packets so you can finish them at one go.

Bagel Factory serves coffee from LaVazza Italy which apparently has been around since 1895. Pretty decent coffee. I quite like the mocha though. I think it’s probably good coffee + good cocoa

So the next time you are in UK, try the bagel!

xx dawnut xx

High Tea @ Ritz Carlton Chihuly Lounge

Celebrated the friend’s really belated birthday having the 8 course weekday afternoon high tea at Ritz. We are all so busy these days, celebrations are getting more and more belated. Love the ambience at the Chihuly Lounge, especially the natural light, high ceiling and spaciousness.

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The course started with a peachy mocktail which was quite refreshing. Accompanied by a bowl of keropok with dried shrimp/scallop XO dip.

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And then we had the steak with truffle mash which was pretty good too.

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What is high tea without the tiered plates of goodies. I felt they could have just given 2 scones instead of 4. I remembered one of Japanese baking instructor I learnt baking from told me that Ritz has one of the best scones. It’s true. The texture was really good. The clotted cream was good too. But we found the bottled jams too sweet, they didn’t have the natural fruity sour sweet flavour.

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We like the salted caramel macarons. They have macarons available for takeaways at the deli if you are looking at bringing some home. The passion fruit tart custard was a little too eggy for me. Rest of the food was pretty alright.

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We opted for the hightea with cocktail. This mojito definitely had a kick.

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The service staff also came by with a trolley of cakes, cookies and chocolates where you can pick any amount you want if you still can stomach them. When we reached that segment, we were like sloths on the chairs in a state of food coma. I felt the variety  and taste of sweets in the trolley wasn’t wow. Overall, the high tea was okay, but I have tasted better ones.

xx dawnut xx

Fruit Paradise

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Was looking for quiet place to sit down to gather some thoughts and grab a small bite before heading to the gym. For the longest, I have been avoiding Fruit Paradise because the mountain of cream on their tarts scare me. But since I was desperate to find a place to sit down to rest my aching feet from all the walking to find a cafe (and couldn’t quite find some place suitable), I relented. Any moment longer I would have to walk bare footed.

Had the weekday tart set that came with a choice of tart and tea for $10.80++. I ordered the Mont Blanc tart and was still quite skeptical until I finally dug into it…O.M.G the cream was soooooooo delicious. So light and fluffy! I am the kinda person who orders frappe with no whip cream bcos I think whip cream has this weird taste. And I don’t really like cream that taste over buttery and milky. Troublesome taste buds I know. But this time I had to try not to finish up the cream! :p The tart had layers of cream, cake, mousse, odd sized cuts of strawberries/bananas and a super thin crust; I really wondered how they managed to slice the tart without it end up looking like Eton Mess.

If you are a creamphobic like me, this is a good place to start enjoy some creamy goodness.

AMK HUB
53 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 #02-18 Singapore 569933
Tel: 6483 4094

PLAZA SINGAPURA
68 Orchard Road, #04-01, Singapore 238839
Tel: 6333 9285
VIVOCITY
1 HarbourFront Walk, #01-#01-59, Singapore 098585
Tel: 6376 9978
WATERWAY POINT
83 Punggol Central, #01-65, 828761
Tel: 6385 8795

xx dawnut xx

Salt Grill & Sky Bar

As the lift doors opened on the 55th floor of ION Orchard, I was greeted by the friendly staff members of the restaurant. My first time to the restaurant and the hospitality, ambience and fusion menu felt some what familiar. It reminded me of the Bennelong in Sydney. It’s no wonder why I felt the familiarity because I went to read about the restaurant later on and found out it is one of several restaurants under the belt of Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan. And the concept of the restaurant revolves around the modern oz concept which has a fusion touch.

Went for the 3 course set lunch priced at $49 per pax. You can check out the menu here. Would have definitely ordered a cocktail if not for the fact that I had to head back to work after :p

Started crunching off some freshly made sweet potato and potato chips with an Italian dip, complimentary from the Chef.

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So for the entrée I chose the Seared scallop, cauliflower puree, XO sauce, pork crackling , broccolini (I think they replaced with green beans). The two key words that got my taste buds tingling were scallop and pork crackling. I have always enjoyed eating scallops in restaurants because it is really hard not to overcook them at home. Without a doubt, it was cooked to perfection and the green beans give the dish a crunch. I was (greedy) dreaming for a piece of crackling pork topping each of the scallop but it came in sprinkled bits around the dish. Cauliflower puree was smooth and light. I almost forgotten it was cauliflower and thought it was some cream. I always like a touch of Asian in fusion dishes so the XO sauce worked for me. salt2

So in the Kurobuta main I got my crackling pork skin! The grilled pork loin was really tender and that brown garlic sauce below was really fragrant and delicious. It’s the kinda garlic sauce that you typically taste in asian style stir fry vege dishes. salt1

Had the mango sorbet, crumbs and berries for dessert. I love those crumbs. Tasted like a tart crust. Buttery and crunchy. Not sure if there is a way to choose berries, they are mostly sweet or at least not sour!

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Salt Grill & Sky Bar
http://www.saltgrill.com

Restaurant
Lunch: 11.00 – 13:45 (Last Seating)
Dinner: 18:00 – 21:45 (last Seating)

Sky bar
Drink: Daily 11:00 – 23:00 (Last Order)
Food: Sun-Thur 21:45 (Last order) / Fri & Sat 22:15 (Last order)

Afternoon Tea (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)
14:30 – 16:45 (Last Order)

xx dawnut