A Joyful Friday Breakfast @ Teban Gardens Community Service Centre on 8Jan2016

about 60-70pax came for free friday breakfast

about 60-70pax came for free friday breakfast

a close friend, my weekly running kaki (mate), and i wanted to see where we can help out a bit.

we had a practice session of cooking & bringing food over for 28pax RI friends at this friend’s residence recently on 3.12.2015.

idea, apart from having fun eat-together ourselves, was: 🙂

  1. when we get together again in the new year 2016, maybe many joining future eat-togethers will be in the mood to make some small donations to a beneficiary charity.
  2. some of us who loves cooking (& there are many among us) may offer to cook community meals for some groups of residents…

we did not have to look far as many of our good friends are already doing community meals for groups of residents for many years.

we went to take a look at teban gardens community service centre (CSC), which was started in 2002 after much effort & challenge by our RI friend who is a pastor of pasir panjang hill brethren church (pphbc) which owns & runs the CSC. they have a weekly free friday morning breakfast & another monday halal lunch which cater to between 60 & 80 people. of course the CSC does a host of other important family & community services like tuition centre etc (which 1 of our RI friends may be volunteering) & also projects.

the food is already catered for from the hawker centre next to the CSC, and the centre executive director R is herself a very good cook & we had opportunity to enjoy her excellent fish maw soup on more than one occasions we were invited to pphbc events etc.

R thought that the residents would enjoy having 1 or 2 homecooked dishes added to the meal at times.


so today on 8.1.2016 i did 2 dishes, a char siew & miso belly pork, packed them in alumium foils & tranported over to teban gardens at 8.40am.

my friend was already there. the food, including fried beehoon & hum chee pen were on the table. the friendly centre staff helped to transfer the char siew & miso belly pork to serving aluminium trays & served the residents as they queued for the food.

today i made a very tender, moist, tasty char siew. ^^

the key thing with char siew & miso belly pork (well with any food!) is taste & texture.

i had a simple excellent char siew marinade (recipe on my blog). i use pork collar for the more marbled texture & flavourful meat when it is slow braised.

since i was having the miso belly pork in the oven at 90degC for 6hrs, i added the char siew during the last hour (at 90degC) & left it in the oven in residual low heat.

the char siew was then roasted in 250degC preheated oven for 20mis, turning & basting just once to coat the sauce.

& many of the residents especially loved the miso belly pork.

90degC is the optimum temperature to convert connective issues to flavourful gelatine.

the result of the low temperature (90degC) gentle braise was a very tender belly pork that was not overbraised & still holding the shape & bite.

& it was so easy to do – just scald to remove scum, marinate, put in a oven dish with tight cover so no liquid loss & drying out.

& 6 hrs later, voila!

i placed the belly pork in the fridge overnight after it cooled down, so that it is easy to cut cleanly.

the next morning, sliced & wrapped the sliced pork in aluminium foil & placed in 40degC oven for 1/2hr or more, then transport. and it came out nice & slightly warm.

fried beehoon

fried beehoon

the fried beehoon looked good.

R was busy serving it & some water to a few residents who were infirm, so i helped out a bit.

about 60 to 70pax came for free friday breakfast2

about 60 to 70pax came for free friday breakfast

the quite old chappie in red helmet came in battery motorised “scooter”. R was chiding him to be careful! haha! 🙂

centre staff serving the residents

centre staff serving the residents

my pastor friend was talking to me about some of the centre staff. quite a few including a young lady, want to be missionary.

about 60pax came for free friday breakfast2

centre ED R getting the residents to share monthly birthdays & cake

i think A, R’s assistant want to go cambodia or laos.

there is another lady not present today who bakes a cake every month for the folks. R has the residents celebrate monthly birthdays for those whose birthdays fall on that month. i guess she does that on the first week of each month. 🙂

the cake i took, & it was an excellent cake, not one i can make at the moment. fluffy sponge cake with cherries compote. nice! 🙂

we really enjoyed this opportunity! as i told my other good friend afterwards, felt like everything runs like clockwork we only there to “ka chiao” (disturb or burden). but it was fun all round for the residents & for us! for me! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

Thit Nuong – Vietnamese Satay on 22Dec2015

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

when we strolled along the banks of song thu bong & the streets last evening before on the way to morning glory for a great dinner, we saw several street stalls selling thit nuong – the vietnamese satay where local people gathered.

the food looked exciting & enticing!

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

today, after the best pho bo @ pho lien & the best banh mi in the world @ banh mi phuong, we entered the ancient city & walked along the streets on the banks of song thu bon.

we were attracted to the thit nuong satay stall.

road side skewer stall

road side skewer stall

we asked if there was a table & the teenage helper pointed to an empty space. before we could do a doubletake, he brought like 7 low stools. 2 doubled as table support for the tray, the other 5 for us to sit on. life is simple & solutions to life’s problems also simple! 🙂

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

the teenage helper (stallholder’s son) speaks good english. he showed us how to wrap the satay meat. there’s actually a twine loop hook at the end of the twin skewers. removed that, pulled out the meat, wrapped in the thin rice paper & put it the veg & herbs!

roasside skewer stall thit nuong3

thit nuong at road side skewer stall

the satay was good, nice aroma & tasty with the rice paper, aromatics & sauce.

road side skewer stall

road side skewer stall

taste was great just as the experience was fun.

hoi an is a nostalgic ancient city. the former port city is a mishmash of different eras & architectural styles from wooden chinese buildings & temples to french colonial buildings to japanese covered bridge & pagoda.

it has the the riverside on both sides of song thu bon are fun to walk along, & shops & eats dotted the streets.

wife is already talking about going back! ^^

c.h.e.f andy