Bali Thai Restaurant @ Velocity

May 17, 2008

After a super long hiatus, I have decided to return to one of my earlier passions – Halal Food Blogging! So here is my latest food escapade at Bali Thai Restaurant. Fatma, Hui Chuan and I decided to try the Indonesian & Thai buffet, so that we could try as many food as possible and as cheaply as possible! (For me at least! :D) I forgot to note down which dish came under which menu but there was basically about 8-9 dishes for the Indonesian buffet menu and Thai buffet menu, and we tried them all except for the Soto Ayam Madura that was unfortunately unavailable! :C

Fried Fish with Thai Sauce

First, we have my all time favorite dish, Fried Fish Fritters in Sweet Thai Sauce! The lightness of the crispy skin encapsulates the flaky texture of the fish. 

Beef Rendang

Next, we have the Beef Rendang! This was delicious because the rendang was spicy without being too sweet. I know there are some versions of rendang which I personally feel are too sweet!

Chicken Green Curry

The Chicken Green Curry was also one of the best I have tasted. The curry was not too heavy, with the right amount of spices and curry that brings out the sweetness of the pieces of chicken in the curry itself. This is a definite must try for those who simply love green curry!

Sambal Sotong

The Sambal Sotong wasn’t fantastic in my personal opinion because the sambal seemed to lack the added punch. Coupled with the fact that there seemed to be more vegetable than the sotong itself also made this dish not as good as it can be.

Nasi Kuning

The Nasi Kuning was part of the Indonesian menu. We also had the Pineapple Rice which was part of the Thai menu but I forgot to take a picture of it. The rice was light and moist and was a great accompaniment to the various buffet dishes for both Indonesian and Thai menus.

Ayam Tum

I did not even know what to expect when we got this dish, Ayam Tum, when I opened the little dumpling-like leaf wrappings. The taste of the Ayam Tum reminded me a little of otak-otak, although this was chicken based whereas the otak-otak is usually fish based or seafood based. It was nice but not entirely memorable.

Combination Platter

This was called the Combination Platter! I guess this dish was for those who would not be able to finish every single dish and would rather only taste a few that was available. The chicken satay can be ordered separately as a dish in itself. The fried vegetable popiah and the “chicken-nugget-thing” after the satay were both simply tantalisingly crispy and definite must try for those eating the buffet!

Tahu Telor

The Tahu Telor was not entirely good. Both Fatma and Hui Chuan felt that there was something wrong with the tahu itself and it did not taste as good as the other tahu telor we have eaten at other Indonesian restaurants.

Pandan Chicken

This was one of the dishes I was really looking forward to BUT it was quite a disappointment because I had expected the pandan chicken to be be crispy and savoury. Instead the chicken does not seem to be fried but is covered with a paste-like substance that was spicy and delicious as well. But I was quite disappointed since it was not similar to other pandan chicken I had tasted previously before.

Sambal KangKong

The Sambal Kangkong was quite good actually. It was spicy, mixed with the right amount of belachan and chilli, creating a perfect taste for the sambal fried with the kangkong.

Chicken Satay

The Chicken satay was comparable to those you can get from the Hawker stalls around Singapore. There was a lot of chicken on each stick and the peanut gravy was smooth and delicious as well.

Seafood Tom Yum Soup

The Seafood Tom Yum soup is also one of the better tom yum I have tasted. You can really taste the authentic tom yum spices and the lemon grass that was used in the soup. There was also a generous serving of seafood in the soup and a waitress was there to help us scoop the individual potions of soup for each of our bowls!

Phad Thai

My least favourite dish – Phad Thai. It is not my least favourite because it was not delicious I just don’t like Phad Thai in general. According to Hui Chuan and Fatma, the Phad Thai was quite good and the peanuts and chilli flakes added a new sensory dimension to the Phad Thai noodles!

 

As you may have seen, I seemed to have lost my flair for describing the sensory tastes of the food in great detail. One of the reasons is the fact that I have been so out of touch about writing about food that I think my brain needs a little more time to start waxing lyrical again about all my favourite food. AND I also felt that I was not entirely inspired by the food at Bali Thai. Some of it was delicious – like the Fried Fish with Thai Sauce and the Chicken Green Curry, but as a whole the buffet wasn’t the best that I have tasted. But its definitely worth the money since you can have about 19 dishes which only cost $19.90 without service charge and GST. The ambience of the restaurant is also quite good since it was not very crowded and it was tastefully decorated.

Bali Thai Decor

For those who would like a taste of both Indonesian and Thai Cuisine, this buffet would be for you!

Bali Thai Restaurant
238 Thomson Road
#03-61/64 Velocity @ Novena Square


The Malay Identity, or lack thereof?

July 31, 2007

I recently attended a dialogue session with Mr Hawazi Daipi, a Member of Parliament, and Mr Nawab, who was the Vice-President of Young AMP, entitled, “What is the role of the Malay/Muslim Youth in the Globalised World?”. What struck me as most surprising was the lack of pride in being identified as a Malay in the Singapore Society, and the general emotional vacillation between an absolute sense of helplessness or an almost apathetic dismissal of the Malay Community as only having progressed infinitessimally vis-a-vis the other races. When Mr Hawazi Daipi asked the audience of undergraduates to vote on which they identified first as who they are: a Malay, a Muslim or a Singaporean, less than five voted for being a Malay or Singaporean, whereas an overwhelming majority voted as being a Muslim first.

I am here not to discuss about the rising Islamisation of our youth or the increased awareness among youths of the need to counter Islamic Terrorists who abuse the religion to suit their own ends. Assuming that there were only a handful of Indian/Chinese Muslims in the audience and the fact that Singapore’s brand of National Education has a long way to go into inculcating a deep sense of patriotism among the youth, what struck me was the fact that many of whom were Malays did not raise their hands to identify as being Malays. One even suggested to drop the Malay out of the Malay/Muslim label, in an effort to be more inclusive, since being is Muslim is much more important (in the afterlife) than being a Malay.

Why is there a total lack of faith amongst the educated Malay elite in identifying themselves as Malays first? Is it because of the sense of alientation, as identified by Dr Lily Zubaidah Rahim of the professional middle class Malays from their community, having pulled themselves out of the cycle of poverty? Or is it the overwhelming sense of frustration over the snail pace speed of progress of our community, measured primarily through high divorce rates, teen pregnancies and juvenile delinquencies?

The sense of alienation arises once the educated Malay elite measures his socioeconomic standing based solely on his educational qualifications and economic success with the community at large. Once he affirms this, his first question would be to ask the rest of the community why can’t you? This narrow mentality absolutely disregards the socioeconomic and structural problems faced by the Malay families of the lower income groups and underestimates the level of difficulty in earning a sustainable source of income in Singapore. As most sociologists and social anthropologists would attest to, such socioeconomic changes within a community takes generations at least, as the community matures and takes stock of past mistakes. Rather than to ask why, the educated Malay elite should appreciate the immense difficulties faced by the government, as well as numerous Malay and Muslim self help groups, in trying to nip such problems in the bud, by either directly going to the children of broken families, or dealing with the consequences, through counselling and fiscal education with the parents themselves.

The assessment of progress through the breakdown of statistics among the races should not only include divorces, pregnancies and juvenile delinquencies, but also education attainment, from passes in PSLE to the increasing number of undergraduates, and economic achievements in all sectors, with many Malays entering new professions, professions not explored by Malays once before. Granted that the pace of progress is not as high as we can hope, the existence of progress is undeniable, and the changes can be seen through the Malay educated elites themselves, having achieved what many Malays could only hope to achieve 10 years before.

I was once a cynic. I think I still am in some aspects. At times, I also felt alienated and frustrated. But, I do know that we must not loose hope in our community in its ability to reinvent itself.

Being a Muslim is important to me, but that is not what I am only. I am also a Malay, and always will be.

(If anyone is curious to know, I saw myself first as a Singaporean. I guess National Education did work for me at least! :D)


Cavana Lemon Chicken Rice @ Marina Square

June 3, 2007

This was what I had for dinner today, Cavana Lemon Chicken Rice @ Marina Square. In my personal opinion, this was a tad bit overpriced, looking at the quantity of rice that was given as well as the chicken. And there wasn’t any soup that came along with the chicken rice. The fact that it was served in a big circular green plate simply emphasizes the lack of food thereof. The chicken was thoroughly drenched with the lemon sauce, which I thought was good, and was also quite tasty but I was not thoroughly pleased with the overall meal.

This was my first time trying though. My friends who bought the hotplates thought that their dishes were quite good and worth the money. Maybe one day I can try them too.

Cavana Pte Ltd
Marina Square
6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-205 Marina Square
Singapore 039594


Emicakes Premium D24 Cake

May 31, 2007

Happy 24th Birthday Kakak!

After such a wonderful orgasmic experience during Mother’s Day 2006, my dad made a special request to have this cake for my sister’s birthday! I had nearly forgotten the taste of a deliciously crafted durian cake after one long hard year of absence. But the sweet creamy taste of the durian, nestled between small slices of cake sponge never ceases to titilate my senses to a new level of sweetness! Other than a Chocolate Etoile from Temptations Cakes Pte Ltd, or a Chocolate Fudge Cake from Royal Cakes and Puffs Pte Ltd, the Premium D24 cake is sinful as all calories-fearing extremists would testify against! This is a cake that all durian lovers should try once in their lifetime. I’m definitely sure that my whole family truly enjoyed eating the cake.

Emicakes
Blk 264 Tampines St 21
#01-110
Singapore 520264


Qiji @ Century Square

May 29, 2007

I bought the my father’s favourite Qiji Popiah today after work. I must confess that I was not a popiah lover. BUT after tasting this heavenly blend of vegetables, sweet sauce and thin moist popiah skin, I am now a Qiji Popiah convert through and through! An almost translucent homemade popiah skin, laced with sweet sauce and chilli, lovingly envelopes the small pieces turnip, bean sprouts, lettuce, parsley, crispy bits, eggs and garlic! Taking a slice of the popiah using your chopsticks and putting it into you mouth, you will experience a symphony of tastes, from the crispyness of the turnip and beansprouts, to the soft tenderness of the lettuce and eggs, from the spiciness of the chilli and the sweetness of the sweet sauce. A whole slice is just enough to fill your mouth with the utmost pleasures as you savour the Qiji Popiah. Though a self-confessed omnivore through and through, eating this purely vegetarian dish (not including the eggs!) is enough to make me not miss the taste of meat (well except maybe Komalas but that is another future post!)! A definite must try for all, Popiah or Non-Popiah lovers out there.

I am definitely going to try the other dishes there like the Nasi Lemak or the Laksa. Anyone wishes to join me?

Qiji Pte Ltd
2 Tampines Central 5
#01-36B Century Square Shopping Centre
Singapore 529509


Padi & Nooch @ Far East Square

May 26, 2007

My sister, cousin and I finally managed to go to Padi & Nooch on Friday 250507 and it was finally opened! The dish that I ordered, called the Chicken Ramen consisted of grilled chicken, seaweed and ramen, soaked in a creamy savoury broth that is simply divine! The broth, reminiscent of the Campbell’s cream of mushroom, is heavenly light and savoury and it captures the essence of the chicken. I thought it was a welcome surprise, unlike the more spicy ramen soups which I had usually tasted before in other restaurants. Though I would be definitely happier if they had given me more chicken! A must try for those eating @ Padi & Nooch!

My cousing ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Don which was a honey sweet dish only for those who have a sweet tooth! From the sweet teriyaki sauce that coats the roasted chicken to the rice / don cooked with eggs and onions – the sweetness ranges from the utterly fragrant and strong Teriyaki to the subtle heat of the onions and eggs. What makes this dish different is the fact that the rice is not plain but served with eggs and onions. My cousin aka “too much onion!” had to meticulously pick out all the onions in the dish because she was anti-onion. But she definitely liked the sweetness of the rice and eggs and the genereous serving of chicken.

This may seem like an innocuous unassuming dish, but the peppery hot gravy is unlike any other! Served with a generous serving of spaghetti and seafood, what I thought was most startling was the fact that the gravy was surprisingly peppery hot! It adds a new dimension to the whole plethora of spaghetti dishes, from the creamy carbonara to the tomato puree sauce. The lightness of the gravy, coupled with the pepper hot spices and spaghetti, creates a very different texture to the dish – an almost fluid blend of spaghetti and sauce. My sister had to sip lots of water during her meal as she savoured every peppery spice of the dish. The only gripe she had was the fact that she wanted more seafood, which echoed my own sentiments for my dish!

All three of us concurred that the food was fantastic! And there was a choice of a set meal which you can top up 3 dollars and get a drink, mini salad and a single scoop of ice cream, which I thought was worth it. Anyone who wishes to go there must take note that it is Alfresco dining, meaning that there is no airconditioning. As luck would had it, when we were there, a rock concert was being held right in front of the restaurant at The Pavilion! So though the ambience was terrible, the food was fantastic! The service was also superb as the manager served us our food promptly and tried to make our meal as comfortable as he could. What I liked was the fact that when my cousin called in to make sure that it was opened (we had learnt our lesson!) they informed us that there was a rock concert going on and that it would be very noisy, and even suggested that we come on Saturday. To me, this is a true mark of honesty and sincerity since he priorities our needs above his own desire for money. So please come and try this place.

But not on Sundays please, as we have learnt the hard way previously.

Padi & Nooch
26 China Street
#01-02 Far East Square
Singapore 049568


Magic Wok Restaurant

May 21, 2007

I went to eat at Magic Wok Restaurant yesterday, after a rather “bubble bursting” experience the whole of Sunday, which I will soon delineate after I talk about all the food that I had eaten! I ordered the Thai Beef Kuay Teow because I was yearning for something with noodles and with a whole lot of soup. The soup (or should I say broth?) was quite savoury and delicious because it really soaked up the essence of the beef. A definite plus was the fact that there was a generous serving of beef in the dish! I also simply love the light texture of the Thai noodles which were extremey soft and delicate to the mouth! Its not oily, and neither is it thin and sometimes hard like beehoon. A definite must try for those beef eaters out there!

My sister ordered Phad Thai which is basically noodles fried with prawns, eggs, tofu, peanuts and bean sprouts. It was rather sweet in my personal opinion, and if you must know, I have a very low tolerance for overly sweet food, (unless its like chocolate!) due to my my health-concious mak who tries as far as possible to use less oil, sugar and MSG. My sis didn’t enjoy it that much too (due to the sweetness) and according to her, she had tasted better Phad Thai elsewhere.

My cousin ordered the Thai Pineapple Rice which was Fried pineapple rice with prawn chicken eggs and onion. Quite nice actually though eating from a pineapple bowl proved to be a difficult exercise in my opinion. But not as savoury as I hoped it would be. One interesting aspect of the dish was the sharp taste of the shrimp floss on top which added a more memorable taste to the whole dish.

And last but not the least, we have my all time fabvorite Thai Fried Baby Squid! Taking a bite into this tiny crunchy pieces of squid, tasting the honey-sweet glazed skins, slowly as it melts into your mouth… Sigh! I want to eat it again! A definite recommendation to all fried baby squid lovers out there!

As I had mentioned earlier, it was rather a bubble bursting Sunday. The original plan was trying the food at Padi & Nooch which is a halal restaurant serving Japanese and Western cuisine. It was located somewhere along a secluded part of China Street near the heart of Chinatown. At first we could not find it and when we did, it was closed! Then we tried looking for a Indonesian restaurant called Bumbu which, according to my sister, was worth trying. Again we could not find it, and when we did it was closed! Though Pagi Sore Indonesian Restaurant was open, we were not keen on buying numerous dishes (makan hidang) for us to share because we did not want to spend too much money. After much consideration, Magic Wok was our last resort.

We have still not given up on Padi & Nooch and Bumbu also. A word of caution – Never venture into Raffles Place area on a weekend. Everything is closed. I guess my sister, cousin and I learnt the hard way. 😀

Magic Wok Restaurant
Halal Thai Chinese Cuisine

City Hall MRT Branch
#01-20 Capitol Building