Good Value Saga Wagyu 佐贺和牛 6-course Set @ Superstar on 5Apr2015

japanese wagyu

saga wagyu 佐贺和牛

what was very good value but perhaps not the best in culinary sophistication was the premium saga wagyu 6-course dinner set we had at the flagship stall of the superstar group restaurant on 5.4.2015.

there was uncertainty from the beginning that this what looked like a very traditional chinese kind of restaurant could manage a wagyu steak well. superstar group do have teppanya & 燒肉牛蔵(和牛專門店yakiniku gyukura restaurants, so initially i booked yakiniku gyukura but they replied that the wagyu set was only served in 2 superstar restaurants & recommended their flagship at tsim sha tsui mansion at nathan road.

premium wagyu 6-course set

premium saga wagyu 佐贺和牛 6-course set

there was nothing to fault really about the menu & quality of ingredients. the preparation & presentation though was not quite the best.

geoduck sashimi

geoduck sashimi

wife wanted to go light after too much eating & decided not to take the set, and instead just ordered a mirugai (geoduck) sashimi. it was good. not a big portion, can’t remember now but probably hk$298.

geoduck sashimi was sweet & succulent, but it was a small geoduck clam, so it was nearer the ends & did not have the large inside flesh that the excellent if expensive geoduck platter we had at  budaoweng 不倒翁 hotpot at isquare.

crispy roast chicken

crispy roast chicken

& the restaurant gave us a fee 1/2 roast chicken, apparently for any spending above hk$200. not the best chicken, still it was pretty good.

crystal pork & tofu

crystal pork & tofu

set started with crystal pork 肴肉& deep-fried tofu. both were competent in look & taste for a good chinese restaurant. tofu was crispy outside & silky inside. 🙂

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup

sharkskin with compoy & fishmaw was average, not the standard of good chinese restaurant sharkskin soup.

japanese wagyu

japanese wagyu

the main draw was the japanese saga wagyu 佐贺和牛. they were pricing it at a special hk$308 for 100g & hk$498 for the set.

we asked for medium rare, which according to them was 五分熟 50% cooked. it came about medium rare to rare. beef was very marbled. the piece looked bigger than 100g. anyway japanese saga wagyu at about S$55/100g was a good price.

it was indeed a very good steak, good marbling melt in the mouth. i felt though that somehow the temperature was not right. it was not charred enough (not enough maillard reaction to impart the flavours) & the meat felt like steamed, somehow the marbling, fragrant flavours were not quite there.

don’t know but just did not have the memorable “wowed-over” feeling that we had at imahan hakata at fukuoka!

nor also the excellent A4 ohmi wagyu at me@oue.

my own chargrilled wagyu steak

for comparison, my own chargrilled wagyu steak

well, it was not even as flavourful as my own chargrilled wagyu steak! (above photo).

maybe belief is important? lack of belief affects taste. don’t know!

stonefish soup

stonefish soup

stonefish soup was very tasty. it was their signature dish. as a accompanying side dish for a premium wagyu 6-course set, i thought it was very good. not sure it could be consider a top signature dish standalone.

stonefish soup

minced wagyu fried rice

the minced wagyu beef fried rice was to me also average though son thought it was very good. i thought it did not have the same wok hae & intense flavours like-

the unagi chahan (fried rice say) at either zen OR en japanese dining; nor

the fragrant spicy fried rice at crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

baked lotus paste sago

baked lotus paste sago

the baked lotus paste sago was a attempted fusion dessert dish. hmmm…i would prefer a creme brûlée or portugese egg tart the ones at marco polo continental club lounge was exquisite!

will i go back again??? i wonder myself….

on paper, this should be a very good deal. but actually i can do without the other dishes (nothing much there to miss really) and just take the wagyu at hk$308. still hk$308 is a bit of money, and not sure i want to leave my fate with the chef and hope for a hk$308 wagyu to turn out for the best. hmmm…

c.h.e.f andy

Wonderful Breakfast – A Redemption @ Gettoan Ryokan 月灯庵 Yufuin汤布院 Kyushu 九州 on 26.1.2015

Gettoan japanese breakfast

Gettoan japanese breakfast

after a totally underwhelming sub-par kaiseki dinner, we could be forgiven for lowering our expectations to base level for the following day breakfast on 26.1.2015. not a great feeling when you are staying 2 nights in an expensive ryokan.

fortunately this time, the breakfast surprised & delighted us, as it should jolly be.^^ redemption!

fresh mixed fruit juice

fresh mixed fruit juice

we started with a freshly made mixed fruit juice which was very good & refreshing.^^

excellent fish with miso & shiso leaf

excellent fish tartare with miso & shiso leaf

then we had an excellent fish tartare with brown miso, decorated with a shiso leaf (edible). this was good!

egg, saba dish

egg, saba dish

egg

egg

grilled saba

grilled saba

grilled saba

grilled saba

there was a dish of egg, grilled saba (horse mackerel), some grated radish. well i guess this time “normal service (i.e. expected good japanese food)” resumed.^^

grilled saba was good, not special but good.

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

the deep-fried tofu was very good – crispy skin, tasty inside, and looked great! this how good japanese cuisine ought to be.

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

nice yuba tofu

the yuba tofu dish was excellent too, in flavours, texture. i drank up the sauce.

mashed potatoes, mentaiko with crisp anchovies, pickles

mashed potatoes, mentaiko with crisp anchovies, pickles

pickled veg with bonito flakes

pickled veg with bonito flakes

the mentaiko, potato dish & pickles was the usual good standard.

pineapples with yuzu jelly

pineapples with yuzu jelly

pineapples & jelly were refreshing.

this not a kaiseki dinner, just a simple breakfast, but it showed some delightful fineness & execution befitting of japanese cuisine. ^^

so finally, we were looking forward to the kaiseki dinner later.

c.h.e.f andy

So-So 4pax Dinner this time @ Kok Sen Keong Saik Street on 21Dec2014

claypot yongtaufoo

claypot yongtaufoo

the family went to watch dimsum dolly at esplanade. after the show 4 of us decided to go kok sen for zi char food. we were early before 6pm on a sunday 21.12.2014, & was lucky to get a parking lot right next at kok sen right away. 🙂

claypot yongtaufoo

claypot yongtaufoo

we ordered the usual. claypot yongtaufoo was very good.

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

the deepfied tofu dish though was much below par. tofu was ok, sauce very average. quite strange…just looked at the photo of dinner here on 7.8.2013. the dish did not even look the same.

blackbean snkaehead (tomen) fish belly with bittergourd

blackbean snakehead (toman) fish belly with bittergourd

blackbean snkaehead (tomen) fish belly with bittergourd

blackbean snakehead (toman) fish belly with bittergourd

the blackbean fish belly bitter gourd was a good as always.

sanlo horfun (生捞河粉)

sanlo horfun (生捞河粉)

sanlo horfun (生捞河粉)

sanlo horfun (生捞河粉)

but the sanlo horfun (生捞河粉) was also below par, not much of wok hae. there were a lot of snake head (toman) sliced fish though.

we had our favourite romaine lettuce (油麦菜) as well.

the 4 dishes with some lemon juice drinks cost $56. but mainly the food was a bit tak shiok! not so fun…maybe should try dongya (东亚) next time.

c.h.e.f andy

Reunion Dinner on 30.1.2014 (& CNY Day 1 Breakfast)

teochew braised duck

teochew braised duck

decided to record this year’s 2014 reunion dinner & cny day 1 breakfast. this a really good tradition & important occasion for families to get together & spend time with their loved ones. 🙂

we had been doing reunion dinners at my elder brother’s house all these while, but had varied a little with cny dinners at joyden restaurant (former west coast seafood) for a few years. last year we decided to go back to homecooked reunion dinner & did the same this year.

for myself, as i grow older & memories fade it is good to have a record to see what i do & how i spend my time from 1 year to the next. 😉

braised tofu (beancurd)

braised tofu (beancurd)

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braised large intestines

braised large intestines

my brother’s m-i-l does excellent braised dishes, and their indonesian domestic help now does it very well. the teochew braised duck was excellent! meat was tender & sweet. i did a braised duck for the reunion dinner last year (2013) but it was not good. now my braised duck is consistently good & i think same or better than this and more “pang” (flavourful). the braising sauce was made to good use for the braised tofu, egg & the large intestines.

broccoli with fa cai (moss)

broccoli with fa cai (moss)

fried leek with hae bee (dried prawns)

fried leek with hae bee (dried prawns)

hör see fat choi (dried oysters with moss)

hör see fat choi (dried oysters with moss)

the broccoli with deep-fried tofu, mushrooms & fa cai 发菜 (which in chinese sounded like striking fortune) was very good. my eldest daughter was not much into meats & more into bread, tofu & vegetables so she enjoyed this dish especially.

the leek was always a great dish, a very sweet vegetable i liked from young.

my wife does a good hör see fat choi (dried oysters with moss) & she does that for reunion dinner & chinese new year every year. fa cai 发菜 is supposed to cause top soil erosion & sand storms in beijing & is forbidden to farm so not sure probably this was not the real fa cai.

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teochew steamed pomfret

teochew steamed pomfret

drunken prawns

drunken prawns

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my sis brought a eu yan san canned buddha jump over the wall?? (not sure if it was really). the soup was tasty, though most of us felt it was canned & not the type one would drink much. there were whole small abalones & other cut ones/shellfiah etc & mushrooms. i guess it was ok to try.

my brother did a teochew steamed pomfret. it was good. the drunken prawns looked very fresh. i took some soup, don’t take much of this dish lately, & did not take the prawns. the abalones were the usual canned nz abalones, quite ok for me. 🙂

breakfast - the morning after

breakfast – the morning after

it was very good dinner get-together! 🙂

next day we gathered as usual on cny day1 at my brother’s place. we had some of the braised dishes leftover from reunion dinner, some fresh fried vege, the rabbit fish 知县鱼(which was a favourite during cny & very expensive for those with fish semen..i didn’t see them much these days & these ones were cheap fish w/o the delicacy..haha..). my wife cooked & brought some black fungus tanhoon mushrooms with fermented beancurd. very nice!

after that we dropped by a friend’s place & then another friend in the area (a close friend of my wife & we visited every cny) for laksa lunch. in the afternoon we went to watch the lion men – quite a good locally produced  movie about lion dancers(& massively sponsored by advertisements…haha), certainly worthy of support. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Wife’s Awesome Healthy Packed Lunch on 13Sep2013

pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, deepfried tofu, red onion salad

pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, deep-fried tofu, red onion salad

my wife makes awesome packed lunches. she brings to office most days and they are much healthier of course than eating at the cafeteria. sometimes she packed for 1 or 2 colleagues as well. 🙂

oven grilled big prawns

oven grilled big prawns

items for packed lunch

items for packed lunch

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

mesclun = rockets, alfafa, spinach, purple lettuce

mesclun = rockets, alfafa, spinach, purple lettuce

the centre-piece of the healthy packed lunches are the salads & vegetables.  these could be standalone simple salad lunches, or often enough also, some meat items were added as a counter-point. sometimes i would cook miso cod, miso salmon, miso char siew (belly pork), miso ebi yaki (grilled miso prawns) or my pan roasted brined chicken breast for her. today she made oven grilled big prawns for herself 🙂

the pumpkin salad (top photo) was excellent tasting – sweet australian pumpkin with cherry tomatoes, deep-fried tofu, red onion. the pan grilled portobello (low heat slow dry grilling) was super, packed full of flavours, and together with the mesclun salad made for a very healthy delicious lunch.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Value Alacarte Buffet Dinner @ Peach Garden Novena on 20Aug2013

for this evening, we picked peach garden novena for our group dinner on 20.8.2013.

they had this $32.80 ala carte buffet, with 1 free for 3 paying. we had 16pax + 1 who ordered vegetarian ala carte, so we had 4pax free. there was a S$30 corkage/bottle so we ordered a S$65 bottle of white wine & had 3 other bottles corkage-free. 🙂

we thought the food was quite good & much exceeded our expectations of a ala carte buffet. the total bill including 1 bottle of white wine came to $38pax. jolly good! 🙂

salmon fish skin

salmon fish skin

roast pork

roast pork

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

deep fried eggplant with meat floss

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

vegetarian goose (素鹅)

for me, the fish skin was a nothing dish, can skip. 🙂 the roast pork (烧肉) was good with a mustard dip (but usual). so was the deep-fried eggplant with meat (not sure pork of chicken) floss. the vegetarian goose was i thought rather good in texture & taste – crisp & tasty! 🙂

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup

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there were like 7 soups for the picking.  most had the milky sharksfin in sharks bone cartilage soup, fishmaw with sea whelk soup (above) or sharksfin with crabmeat soup. 🙂

deep-fried tofu

deep-fried tofu

we also had a tofu dish – ok crispy but otherwise average. 🙂

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

kong ba (梅菜扣肉)

pan-fried venison

pan-fried venison

pan-fried kurobuta

pan-fried kurobuta

the kong ba (梅菜扣肉) was very good. the venison was the usual artificial bicarbonate tenderised meat version – ok but not my kind of dish. the kurobuta was  tasteless & forgettable – very odd really, as kurobuta is usually very marbled & tasty & not difficult to do.

deep=fried soon hock

deep=fried soon hock

minced ginger bating (巴丁鱼)

minced ginger pating (巴丁鱼)

wasabi mayo prawns

wasabi mayo prawns

we had both the deep-fried soon hock & the pating fish. the few good teochews loved the pating & especially the belly. 🙂 i thought it really odd that they served a 1/4 pating fish, and it looked like a 700g & NOT a 1kg pating. never seen it served that way before, so what they do with the tail portion? anyhow the fish was excellent..i could eat another portion myself!

the soon hock was a bit more mundane, a good competent version. some liked this better as pating, a fresh water fish, had more of a “mud” taste, though not by much. 🙂

the wasabi prawn was well executed & excellent dish, nicely lightly deep-fried & not too much wasabi mayo (the last time a friend bought dinner here, it was coated in thick green paste, probably by a trainee!) but this dish had become pedestrian being served in every restaurant from majestic to tung lok, paradise, crystal jade, imperial treasure etc. 🙂

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the 3 egg (egg, salted egg, century egg) spinach (“hoing chye”) was another competent dish, good accompaniment after all the meat!

char kuay teow

char kuay teow

ee-fu noodles

ee-fu noodles

for carbo, the char kuay teow was tops! very good wok hae & tasty. the ee-fu noodles were forgettable (& forgotten!)

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

pulut hitam with coconut ice cream

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some of us had all 5 desserts. the 杨枝甘露, a popular dessert, was the only one not worth taking here. i had the pulut hitam with coconut ice cream which was very good & the jelly which was nice & refreshing. 🙂 the almond tau huay (beancurd) & the sea coconut were ok too. 🙂

it was another usual df3 (din-filled, food-filled, fun-filled) evening. the servers came twice to say that the other tables complained about our noise level but what to do? (not that many of us heard her anyway). 🙂

the evening was memorable & i really liked the food, so maybe start thinking about going back…haha. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Cheap & Good Zi Char @ Kok Sen on 7Aug2013

black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd

black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd

Update = we went to two chefs at commonwealth crescent on 26.11.2013, but that was just average. kok sen was a lot better. 🙂

for hawker tour, see hawker tour @ BTFC on 19.7.2103.

this the 2nd edition of our hawker & zi char tour. 🙂

i had never been to kok sen at keong siak street. however i have seen FB friends posting photos & good comments, & hungrygowhere reviews were mostly good, so i did not doubt that it would be a great outing on 7.8.2013. we have also among us some expert who had been to kok sen & dong ya (东亚), and knew all the right dishes to order. 🙂

claypot chicken flavoured with tangerine

claypot chicken flavoured with tangerine

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork

beancurd paste romaine lettuce

beancurd paste romaine lettuce

we were early at 6.30pm before the crowd. the first 3 dishes came quickly. all were good. i don’t care much about claypot chicken dishes, but this 砂煲甘香鸡 came with a touch of tangerine, was quite unique & tasty. liked it! 🙂 the 家香豆腐 (deep-fried tofu drizzled with minced pork) was very good – the tofu skin was very crisp & the inside was tasty. excellent dish! the 腐乳油麦(romaine lettuce with fermented beancurd) was super too. in my opinion better than 强记鸡粥 at Tai Wai in HK. 🙂

for me the best had to be the black bean sauced fish head with bitter gourd (top photo). it came with good serving of fish meat & fish head. liked this dish a lot & will be back for more! 🙂

horfun with egg

horfun with egg (滑蛋河粉)

alas, the last was not the best. in fact, the horfun (滑蛋河粉) was just mediocre, not even good. any coffee shop zi char stall would do same or better.  this was strange really. any good zi char stall must be able to fry up dish out “wok hae”, and it was odd that this was not so for a common basic dish like horfun?

the entire dinner was S$71 including 1 drink + chinese tea for 5 of us. good food + great company = enjoyable evening.

after that we went to have coffee at dong ya (东亚). they now occupy the previous pasta inc shop & just started business so had not replaced the pasta inc shop name signboard & did not have many customers..anyway will be back to try dong ya (东亚) also.

c.h.e.f andy