Very Good 6pax Suckling Pig Set @ Ah Yat Grandstand on 4Jan2015

#1 lobster salad

#1 lobster salad

today my very close friend’s birthday.

last evening i arranged a birthday dinner for him at ah yat seafood @ grandstand turf club road on 4.1.2015. 🙂

happens that my god-sis & her husband’s birthday were also just past, so we had a 6pax dinner together with my other 2 close friends.

i ordered the 6pax lobster sharkskin abalone 9-course dinner. it was very good, quite expected. the place was crowded & noisy like a fish market, with 2 tables next to us having endless drinking challenge & making a din. we used to say that the place did not matter since we would be the table making the most noise. this time though we were not. ^^

anyway, the birthday boys & girl were all happy with the trade-off – good food for fish market noises. 🙂

#1 lobster salad

#1 lobster salad

#1 lobster salad. canned fruit salad was refreshing, and a friend cleared off everything. 🙂 as a lobster dish, lobster salad always suspect to me, few lobster pieces & lots of fruit salad, could never really compared with a proper lobster dish.

#2 sharksfin soup

#2 sharksfin soup

#2 sharksfin soup

#2 sharksfin soup

#2 sharksfin soup was sweet & tastier than i expected, but not quite the standard of ah yat abalones forum restaurant.

#3 suckling pig - this was so good

#3 suckling pig – this was so good

#3 suckling pig - this was so good

#3 suckling pig – this was so good

the #3 suckling pig was really par excellence. it was so good, crispy & tasty, equal or better than the suckling pig  at hung kang or at summer garden SAFRA mt faber.

#4 fish maw with leeks

#4 fish maw with leeks

#4 fish maw with leeks

#4 fish maw with leeks

#4 fish maw with leeks was good too. not the expensive 花胶. still a tasty dish.

#5 abalones, mushrooms & chinese cabbage

#5 abalones, mushrooms & chinese cabbage

#5 abalones, mushrooms & chinese cabbage

#5 abalones, mushrooms & chinese cabbage

#5 abalones, mushrooms & chinese cabbage another great dish. abalones were smaller & no comparison with the abalones in brown sauce at ah yat abalones forum restaurant. of course. still it was great dish. i liked the mushrooms & chinese cabbage too.

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed tiger garoupa

#6 hk steamed 港蒸tiger garoupa was tops. better than tau heung restaurant in HK.

#7 fried suckling pig meat

#7 fried suckling pig meat

i enjoyed the #7 fried suckling pig meat too, but really i thought just chopping up the meat & head would be just as good.

#8 yee meen

#8 yee meen

#8 yee meen – passable i guess.

#9 birds' nest

#9 bird’s nest

#9 bird’s nest was kind of forgettable dish for me, zero impact.

we had excellent company, good food & great memories..a most enjoyable evening. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Below Par (for the Price) 4pax Dinner @ Restaurant Home on 25Jun2014

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

was truly disappointed with the S$59.80+ ala carte buffet at restaurant home on 25.6.2014. 😦

probably had to do with wrong expectations, as the award winning chef tan yong hua has so many accolades, not least the first singaporean chef to win against iron Chef Thailand. also the price of S$59.80+pax would be quite ok if the dishes were good & not just mediocre.

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

#1 the mini buddha-jump-over-the-wall(bjotw) had a light decent soup base (not intense & maybe that was intended), a good flower mushroom, a quite small abalone which was ok & lots of chicken plus a cheap fish maw (not 花胶). i supposed average ingredients were quite ok if the soup was really tasty. it was not a bad soup. 1 of us commented any lie tong (例汤) soup of the day by tunglok or imperial treasure would beat this, so there was nothing much to say.

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

#2 the bite/texture & flavour of the 8-head abalone & also the flower mushroom were quite good. the spinach was just average, and perhaps it was more the method of preparation, but any brown sauce braised chinese abalones (ah yat, tunglok, xin restaurant etc) would be a better overall taste experience than this (not a better abalone). i guess this dish would be above average to good whereas the mini bjotw was just average.

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

#3 the salmon & maguro (tuna) sashimi were ok, the lobster was buried in mayo. a wasabi or salted egg prawn would be better. the dish was ok but nondescript.

herbal drunken prawns

herbal prawns

#4 the prawns were big & fresh & quite tasty. i guess it was about as good as a herbal prawn could be. it was not a dish i would much fancy though, unlike the wow factor with the golden prawns at mikuni.

deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried red garoupa

#5 the deep-fried red garoupa was competent, good even. but as 1 diner commented, it was no better than ah yat though the garoupa tasted better than soon hock. i also thought it was not much better than peach garden miramar, not counting ban heng’s deep-fried soon hock which was very average.

roast duck

roast duck

#6 the roast duck was to me about the best dish for the evening (& it was not among the chef selected dishes above limited to 1 serving). skin was crispy, meat was tender, moist not overcooked & very flavourful.

cabmeat brocoli

crabmeat brocoli

#7 the crabmeat broccoli was another better dish, looked good, tasted great, more like the standards of tunglok or imperial treasure.

sichuan beef with rice crackers

sichuan beef with rice crackers

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

#8 the sichuan spicy fish fillet (i forgot to take a photo) was ok edible not good but as 水煮鱼 it was a disaster! even the NUS canteen foodgle hub just above average S$6 水煮鱼 was better than this.

#9 the sichuan spicy beef with rice crackers was worse than the fish! beef was bad by any standard, the sinewy quite tasteless like rubber type. even the artificial tenderised beef at coffeeshop zi char stalls were better! not sure the thai type rice crackers qualified as 锅巴. if it were any zi char stall, i guess one could argue that’s just a choice of words.

osmanthus jelly

osmanthus jelly

#10 the osmanthus jelly was pretty good, i guess not so far off timhowan which was better, but it’s just jelly.

fruit jelly

rosella jelly with diced mango

#11 the rosella jelly was ok for a jelly but really a poor dessert c/w any of tunglok, xin, imperial treasure, i guess better than having red beans & green beans at ah yat.

#12 3 of us ordered the almond jelly (no photos). this was good restaurant standard.

i had earlier booked en japanese dining @ alocasia to try their S$56++pax queen crab wagyu ala carte buffet, but had canceled that to try this new restaurant. it was a manifestly wrong decision to take this ala carte buffet. it was not near as good as peach garden miramar’s (S$30.80++pax 3 paying 1 free) which was 1/2 the price. this 4pax dinner cost S$264nett. my recent fabulous 4pax dinner at mikuni cost only S$195nett. there was totally no comparison at all regards the food! 😦

1 Facebook friend who dined there recently commented that the ala carte orders –  lychee wood smoked peking duck, claypot steamed fish, tofu egg, braised pork knuckles vermicelli in oba leaf – were pretty good. i guess a sound opinion & i am not totally ruling out trying ala carte here if there are takers among my friends(but i think not likely), but the ala carte buffet is totally out for me! & i think really the organisation is still not in groove to put up this below par level of cuisine for a S$59.80 ala carte buffet. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

23pax Dinner @ Ban Heng Orchard Central on 25Apr2014

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braised small abalones with broccoli

had our dinner get-together for 23pax at ban heng @ orchard central on 25.4.2014. we had 3 tables. sure looks like our monthly dinners are gaining traction and we have sustainable numbers coming together to catch up each month. 🙂

i had never been to ban heng, the original at boon keng & the now many new outlets. they have a weekday ala carte buffet at S$26.80pax i emailed the link to the organiser & he arranged to do it at the orchard central outlet.

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chilli crab

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sharks fin soup

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stir-fried frog legs

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drunken prawns

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stir-fried scallops with asparagus

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garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon

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deep-fried soon hock

we started with the list of chef’s recommendations above. for me the best dish was the abalone. 🙂 it was about or almost the normal good restaurant standard, not better.

the rest of the dishes were kind of below par or maybe i should say just ok. however everything is relative. the price of S$26.80 is i guess pretty alright for the number of dishes, though these days there were more talks of worthwhile calories & worthwhile cholesterol and focus was more on quality than quantity. 1 friend i asked during dinner said pretty much the same, that relative to price it was ok. another friend commented on FB post afterwards – “The food was actually quite satisfactory for the price and place”.

1 place though i would consider a whole lot better than (after trying) ban heng would be the ala carte buffet at peach garden.

the chilli crab was pretty ok though not spicy (as we were told by the servers), but it was not a dish that the ladies took much nor the rest.

the sharkskin soup was gluey like sometimes served in wedding dinners. i took <1/2 of the portion served.

the drunken prawn was among the better dishes. 1 lady on my table commented that it had nicely herb flavoured soup. the prawns were quite ok.

the frog legs were a bit below par (say) c/w the plump, meaty ones at ah yat turf city.

likewise the garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon. this should be a pretty standard dish if using live scallops, but somehow the scallop & garnishing were not tasty.  i do a much better tasty dish using IQF frozen razor clams from giant, but of course i always prefer razor clams to scallops for this garlic steamed preparation.

the stir-fried scallops with asparagus was also an average dish. the asparagus were quite good in texture & taste. scallops were just average. like the frog leg, this dish was lacking in ‘wok hae”, which was surprising as the baby kailan dish that came later had very good wok hae.

the deep-fried soon hock was also quite average. this was also a standard dish at many restaurants. couldn’t say it was poor but while the fishes were crispy outside, the inside were not moist & tender as the usually good ones at most restaurants, & the sauce were not so tasty as well.

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roast duck

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steamed sea bass

the lady who commented on the drunken prawns went to spy on the other tables…haha…& we ordered the steamed seabass & the roast duck. good food-spotting, well done!

the 1/2 seabass with spicy bean sauce was good. 🙂 though 1 friend commented that soon hock was a better & more expensive fish…but it goes to show that quality of cooking/preparation is equally or sometime more important than quality of ingredients. 🙂

the roast duck was good too, flavourful but just a tad salty. 🙂 (but compare this with the really good roast duck at noodle restaurant at centrepoint!) it prompted the lady friend to say perhaps the trick was to mine the non chef recommendations.

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stir-fried baby kai lans

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spinach with superior stock

the 2 vegetables dishes we ordered were quite good, above average. the baby kailan had very good wok hae. & the spinach with superior stock was good. nice tasty stock.

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thai deep-fried tofu

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prawn cocktail salad

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braised goose

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hae chor

10294413_10152348756534494_6515834032046957718_n the deep-fried tofu with thai sauce was much below par, both the tofu & also the sauce.

the mayo prawn salad was quite ok & refreshing though not a favourite with me.

the hae chor looks were not so appealing. the taste was just ok.

the braised goose was to me below par, which is kind of surprising for an establishment that started out as teochew restaurant 42years ago in 1972. it was not “pang” i.e. flavourful & texture was over boiled. my favourite is the braised duck at imperial treasure teochew restaurant at ngee ann city. my own teochew braised duck is also more flavourful than this. 1 friend asked whether one could tell between goose & duck. couple of us felt that (say) when eating goose in hong kong the more gamey & fragrant taste was quite apparent. 🙂

desserts were provided on a self-serviced buffet table. the ice jelly was quite refreshing. i had 2 helpings topped up with sea coconut. 🙂

overall, food, ambience & price were quite ok for such a get-together.  ala carte buffet was quite convenient, one price, easy to manage for groups & don’t really have to plan or pre-order the food, pretty much order anything you fancy. we were mostly more interested in talking, with food as a good accompaniment, so i was not paying much attention to the menu too.  it’s probably not a place i would go much or soon.

c.h.e.f andy

(Poor Man’s) Buddha Jump Over The Wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

my daughter’s friend’s father is a chef. he made a shorthand version of buddha jump over the wall using simple ingredients & my daughter brought home last week. it was very good & my wife & i enjoyed very much. 🙂

my wife is leaving for UK tomorrow & my daughter’s friend came for dinner, so i thought i would try recreating the dish. 🙂

(P.S. subsequently i served this dish for my RI friends on 5.5.2014 & for my brother & sister birthday on 14.6.2014 and it was a really excellent dish that everyone liked).

the ingredients that were used were dried scallops, pig trotters, chicken, mushroom & small abalones. so i went to sheng shiong last evening & bought 1 chicken, a whole pig trotter. i did not want to waste good abalones (not sure how the soup would turn up) & there was not enough time for me to prepare dried abalones i had at home (takes couple days to slow braise in brown sauce) so i bought a can of cheap limpets for S$9.30.

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

i added boiling water to some dried mushrooms & 2 dried scallops & soaked for several hours to soften. i used about 2/3 of the pig trotters & added the remaining boiling water to remove the scums, after which i cleaned thoroughly in slow running cold water.

i cleaned & used 1/2 chicken & quartered it. then i placed the 2 chicken quarters & pig trotters (4 large pieces) in a crockpot & added the dried scallops, mushrooms & also the water they were soaked in , throwing away the residue. i open the can of limpets & tried a piece. the brined solution tasted quite good so i emptied the whole can into the crockpot, and added 1 teaspoon of salt. i added some water to about 80% full.

i then turned on the crockpot to low & left overnight till next morning (about 7hrs). next morning i removed the pig trotters (& chicken) & limpets so they were not over-boiled. this was very important for the pig trotters to keep the tasty & still bouncy slightly gelatinous texture. no difference for the chicken though, 7hrs even at low was too long.

i kept the crockpot at high for another 4hrs to get the most flavour from the dried scallops & to reduce the soup a little for more intense flavours. then i let it cooled down & placed in the fridge.

when it was time to serve, i took out the soup & removed the layer of oil. i then boiled the soup & added back the pig trotters & chicken & limpets & then served. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken quarters
  • 400g pig trotters
  • 6 to 10 pieces of small abalones (dried & braised or canned or a cheap substitute like limpets)
  • 2 dried scallops
  • 6 to 10 pieces dried mushrooms

Directions:

  1. add boiling water to some dried mushrooms & 2 dried scallops & soak for several hours to soften. add the remaining boiling water to pig trotters to remove scums, then clean thoroughly in slow running cold water. clean & cut out 2 chicken quarters. place the 2 chicken quarters & pig trotters (4 large pieces) in a crockpot & add the dried scallops, mushrooms & also the water they were soaked in, throwing away the residue. add some water & 1 teaspoon of salt. open a can of small abalones (or limpets) & empty contents into the crockpot.
  2. turn on crockpot to low & leave overnight till next morning (about 7hrs). next morning remove the pig trotters (& chicken) & limpets so they are not over-boiled. keep the crockpot at high for another 4hrs to get the most flavour from the dried scallops & to reduce the soup a little for more intense flavours (this to taste). let the soup cool down & place in the fridge.
  3. when it is time to serve, take out the soup & removed the layer of oil. boil the soup & add back the pig trotters & chicken & limpets & then serve.