Monday, January 30, 2012

First business trip of 2012

I'd be going on a business trip for the next couple of weeks..

So it should be hard to update my blog..

Will update all on some of my experiences when I'm back.

In the meantime, do take care and "see" you again very soon!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Early CNY and 2012 Resolutions

I like it better when Chinese New Year is in February. Chinese New Year at the end of January (23 and 24 Jan no less) is way too early..

It's... a little too SOON after Christmas and New Year and I haven't had time to think about my new year's resolutions. It has always been my personal tradition to do that as part during the Chinese New Year.

This year, since I caught a nasty flu bug during CNY.. and because CNY came upon us so early, I'm late.

Well, better late than never.

My resolutions this year are pretty simple.

1. Eat healthily

I always try to do a bit of exercise but when it comes to good food, I've always gone easy on myself.

But I realised that too much carbs weren't doing me any good and I was feeling more tired and putting on weight in spite of regular exercise due to my diet.

Since December, I've cut back on carbs and have lost about 3-4 kg since. But I do want to maintain this low carb diet for a longer period of time. Not only was I cutting back on carbs, but I was also eating more fruits, nuts and drinking more milk. And I have found myself more energetic and alert. Which is really good. So I shall continue eating healthily in 2012.

2. Change my lifestyle

This year, I want my lifestyle to be different

I maintain a very boring lifestyle - work long hours from Mondays to Fridays, sleep in on Saturdays and go to church/ cell group on Sundays.

I shall do something different in 2012. I haven't quite decided how. But I will most definitely do it.

3. Enjoy life a little more heartily

I think I miss out on the beautiful things in life too much.

This year, I want to take time to smell the flowers on my way to work, enjoy a different city and time alone when I go on business trips, go for a morning swim before work sometimes, have a cup of homemade tea latte on Saturday mornings.. and just do those small small things that makes life so much more beautiful and different.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant

My favourite bowl of Pho is from a particular shop in Paris.

To me, a good bowl of pho should have a tasty yet clear, light stock with perfectly cooked beef slices, crunchy beansprouts and silky smooth noodles.

It should come with a generous plate of herbs on the side, for you to add to the Pho as you pleased.

After drinking a spoonful of the soup, you should then add in the herbs before drinking another spoonful. Then, a squeeze of lime and then more soup. Then you can start eating.

Alas, it isn't easy to find a good bowl of pho in Singapore. There are a few places in Hong Kong where you can get good Vietnamese food. But even good pho is hard to find in Hong Kong. Much less Singapore.

The best bowl I've had so far is from Long Phung at Joo Chiat. It's an unassuming "coffee shop"-like eatery along Joo Chiat Road, amidst dodgy KTVs named "I Love You KTV" (or something similar). The place is packed during meal times, with locals as well as Vietnamese patrons.

The Vietnamese ice coffee is good, as is the fresh spring rolls, although I don't like the dipping sauce very much.

The pho is good - the soup is a little too sweet, the herbs came in the bowl, not beside it and the herbs given weren't generous enough. But the beef slices were tender and the soup had a really authentic "Vietnamese" taste to it. At about $6 a bowl, it really isn't too bad at all. I ordered the sliced beef pho and The Husband ordered the Special pho which also came with beef brisket, beef balls and an egg. I liked my order a lot more since eggs and pho don't go well together in my opinion.

You know a restaurant is worth visiting again when you start thinking about what you'd order in your next visit even before you finish your meal.

My next visit will be to try out the grilled pork noodles.. and yes, Long Phung will be a place I'd definitely visit again.

Do let me know if you know of other good Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore.

Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant
159 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427436
Tel: +65 6344 2005

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reunion Dinner

We always have reunion dinner at my mother's place. This is the time of the year when my mum goes all out to cook our family's dishes. For the Chinese, reunion dinner is usually held on the eve of the Chinese New Year, during which family members get together to have a meal together.

Each year, my mum will prepare the ingredients for hotpot. Hotpot is a must for our family's reunion dinner. She'd also make five-spice meat rolls, fried prawns, stewed pork with chestnuts and quail eggs, as well as fried tang-hoon (or glass noodles). 

I usually contribute a dish to the reunion dinner. This year, my contribution is haemul pajeon, or Korean Seafood Pancake.

Reunion dinner is usually a good time to catch up and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, this year, I felt a little too sick from flu to really enjoy the dinner very much.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Avocado and Tomato Salad

It's not easy to adopt a low carb diet in Singapore. Especially during breakfast.

Singapore's local breakfast fare of kaya toast, fried bee hoon, fried carrot cake, fishball noodles etc are mostly high in carb.

Since I started cutting back on carbs, I find myself having breakfast at home a lot more.

Here's a salad I made this week for breakfast.

It is a really simple salad - I cut up some tomatoes, avocado and added slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella. Then I added a few strips of fresh basil and season with sea salt and pepper.

It's nice to have a homemade breakfast before work on a weekday. And this doesn't take much time to make at all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Popiah Party

Popiah - the finished product. 
Picture from here.

Once in a while, my mum would cook a whole pot of finely cut vegetables - turnips, cabbages, carrots with shallots, dried prawns and some meat.

All my siblings and I will then turn up for dinner and we'd have the pot of vegetable stew for dinner.

I call this our family "popiah party".

Popiah, or 薄餅 is the Chinese version of fresh spring roll. You put together some sweet dark sauce, finely ground peanuts, some chilli sauce, slices of hard boiled eggs, some prawns and a lot of stewed vegetables. Everything is wrapped in the popiah skin (or 薄餅皮), which is a soft, thin paper-like crepe from wheat flour.

My family loves this dish but it takes a lot of effort to make the vegetables since everything needs to be finely cut. The difficult part really is in the cutting because cooking this dish is pretty easy. Just stir fry the shallots, dried shrimps and meat and then throw in all the vegetables and cook on low heat.

We had a "popiah party" at home last night. I hope everyone had as good a New Year's Eve dinner as we did. Happy 2012!

Stewed vegetables - super sweet and juicy