Eating My Way Through Saturday

Well, we’ve already spent time this week on introspection and motivation.  But come on, Holly – what we really want to talk about is FOOD.  Fair enough.  Let’s do it.

We actually had a really excellent eating weekend – especially Saturday.  After our run, I enjoyed a great big bowl of oatmeal:

I'm an oatmeal snob.  I only like oatmeal has real, whole pieces of oats - none of this chopped up stuff, and nothing with flavoring already added.  I want to my own selection of dried fruit & nuts, a drop of honey, and then top the whole thing with lots of milk.

I’m an oatmeal snob. I only like oatmeal that is real, whole pieces of oats – none of this chopped up stuff, and nothing with flavoring already added. I want to add my own selection of dried fruit & nuts, a drop of honey, and lots of milk.

In the afternoon, some friends came over for “tea” (definitely a linguistic throwback to Singapore’s colonial times), and we enjoyed muffins, fruit, and coffee.  I also enjoyed introducing their 2+ year-old-son to the joy of climbing a ladder.  [Ooops!  Bad auntie!  Sorry, K &A – hope he didn’t proceed to climb everything in sight when you all got home…]

I forgot to take a picture of any part of this.  And anyway, I’m still too shy to ask our guests about whether they’d mind if I posted a photo of them on the blog.  Ergo, no photos from tea.

Nibbles and Sauces

Nibbles and Sauces

On Saturday evening, we went out to dinner with some of KMN’s extended family, who are visiting Singapore from Australia.  We went to Jing Long Seafood Restaurant [412 Bedok North Avenue 2].  I love going out to eat with KMN’s family.  Like most Singaporeans, they unabashedly love food and love to eat.  We always order plenty, including some restaurant-specific specialties that someone in our group recommends.  It’s a small country, so someone in the group has usually been there before (or at least read an article about it!).  Here’s some of the dinner spread:

Clockwise from top: Tofu with Crispy Turnips, Mushrooms with Veggie, Coffee Pork Ribs, and Crispy Duck Crepe

Clockwise from top: Tofu with Crispy Turnips, Mushrooms with Veggie, Coffee Pork Ribs, and Crispy Duck Crepe

I found the first three dishes to be the best of the evening.  The tofu in Singapore is usually quite tasty, and this was no exception.  The dish included large chunks of soft tofu, lightly fried, and topped with a brown sauce and crispy turnips (US-based friends: Singaporeans say ‘turnip’, we say ‘daikon’).  Honestly, I could have eaten a whole plate of the tofu alone – I didn’t even need the turnip.  Have I mentioned that I love the tofu here?  [A slight variation is beancurd, and I’ve already shared my love for Mr. Bean and Rochor Beancurd House.]

The veggies were also delicious.  The greens (mostly kai lan, I think) were cooked perfectly, still slightly crunchy in the stalk.  If I had to lodge a complaint, it would be that the dish was more like “Veggies with Mushrooms” – I’d like more mushrooms, please!  But I’m a mushroom fanatic, so what can I say? 🙂

Now, I’m not a big meat eater, and I was suspicious of coffee seasoning my meat.  But the Coffee Pork Ribs were awesome!  The ribs were tender and meaty, and not too fatty – and the coffee flavor was an awesome complement to the meat.  I never would have imagined this combo, but it was extremely tasty.  If we returned to Jing Long, I’d request this dish – and I don’t usually request meat, especially of the 4-legged variety!

While the duck crepe was good, I thought the duck got lost among the other ingredients.  If I’m eating duck, I prefer the duck flavor to shine through, so I was a little disappointed in this particular dish.

Hellooooo there!

Hellooooo there!

We also ordered steamed prawns.  In Singapore, these will virtually always come whole – shell, legs, head, everything.  People here love them, but frankly, I find them pesky.  I don’t mind getting my hands dirty when the whole meal is “hands-on” (like, BBQ), but when I’m eating 90% of my food with chopsticks, I really dislike getting my hands all messy to peel one.measly.prawn.  However, I happily make it more worth KMN’s while to get his hands dirty, by letting him peel a prawn or two for me.  Although to be honest, I haven’t figured out why Singaporeans love these big ‘ole prawns so much.  I find them tough and dry, while smaller ones (used in other dishes, rather than eaten alone) are more tender and moist.  I used to think the tough texture came from being over-cooked; but if that’s the case, then all the larger prawns I eat in Singapore are overcooked.

KMN’s sister recommended the oddest dish of the evening: Scallop & Banana with Bak Gua Roll

Sliced pieces of scallop, banana, and shrimp are perched  atop a piece of cured beef (bak gua), then the whole thing is deep fried.

Slices of scallop, banana, and shrimp are perched atop a piece of cured beef (bak gua), then the whole thing is deep fried.

I generally don’t like fruit in my dinner (I think my Mom abandoned a perfectly good sweet-and-sour stir fry dish 20 years ago because of my steadfast refusal to touch dinner that contained oranges), but I’ve become more liberal in my old age, and the combination of sweet and salty in this dish somehow just…worked.  The scallops and shrimp were fresh (little shrimp: tender and juicy!), and there was a perfect amount of bak gau to infuse some salty, smoky flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.  And of course, how could you refuse a crispy battered crust?  Not exactly the pinnacle of healthy eating, but that’s why there’s enough for each person to have just a piece or two.

Jing Long (Herbal Jelly)

Some members of the group finished out their meal with “dessert”.  But any self-respecting Westerner is going to find that Chinese dessert is a poor excuse for dessert.  I won’t share the less photogenic of the dishes (yam paste), but I will show you KMN’s herbal jelly.  Let’s take a moment to discuss why I don’t consider herbal jelly a dessert: First, it has the consistency of jello.  Second, it’s bitter.  Like, so bitter that it’s served with honey drizzled on top.  Third, it is supposed to be very healthy.  Sorry herbal jelly, three strikes and you’re out.  Yes, I have tried it.  No, I don’t feel compelled to try it again.  I really think it’s a Chinese (Asian?) thing.  Please note that this is not a negative review of Jing Long’s herbal jelly – it’s just a negative review of all herbal jelly (my personal, Caucasian opinion).  🙂

So when we got home, I enjoyed a real dessert: Tim Tams.  These are a very recent discovery of mine, and are almost an acceptable substitute for the chocolate Vienna Fingers (chocolate wafers + chocolate filling) I fell in love with in the mid ’90s.  Yeah, don’t bother Googling “chocolate Vienna Fingers”, they’ve been out of production for at least 15 years now.  Which is a shame, because they were the best cookie, EVER, to dip in a glass of milk.  Tim Tams aren’t nearly as dippable, but their overall deliciousness helps compensate for that:

Light and crispy chocolate wafers, with a thin layer of chocolate cream in the middle - all dipped in dark chocolate

Light and crispy chocolate wafers, with a thin layer of chocolate cream in the middle – all dipped in dark chocolate

Wow.  Thank you, Australia, for this chocolatey goodness.  You go a long way to filling the chocolate-Vienna-Finger-sized hole in my heart.

Ever had a Tim Tam?
Which of our dinner dishes would you be most excited to try?

11 thoughts on “Eating My Way Through Saturday

  1. Sarrilly

    Oooh, your food posts are always fun! 🙂 Is the tofu dish covered with something? like crushed peanuts? Maybe it’s just the way it looks on my computer. Either way, yummy! 🙂 I’d be interested in trying the coffee pork ribs!

    I wonder if it’s hard to find Tim Tams in the US? Bc it sounds divine! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Holly KN Post author

      That’s the salted, fried radish.

      This is what I can tell you about Tim Tams: I actually ended up purchasing them because a friend in the US was praising them, after a friend of HERS brought them back from Australia. This leads me to think they might not be so common in the US??? But that was in California, and food rules are different out there (Eg: Hellman’s = Best Foods), so who the heck knows. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Holly

    I as well am not a big on fruit in my dinner. Just this week I made a beef strew that called for 6 prunes before cooking for 2 hours, the recipe assured me that the prunes would dissolve during the cooking leaving a faint sweet taste in the stew. They were still whole, I dutifully picked them all out, I will have NONE of that!

    Reply
  3. erica

    Reuben loves Tim Tams with a passion, I could personally pass on them. I like my cookies (do they say biscuits over there too?) soft and gooey.

    As for your meal, I want to try EVERYTHING!!

    Reply
    1. Holly KN Post author

      You know, if it’s homemade, I want it to be soft & gooey, too. There’s no place in my caloric intake for crunchy homemade cc cookies.

      But…I somehow make an exception for these. I think it’s the dark chocolate. Speaking of New Zealand cookies, I just remembered how much I miss Afghans. There was so much time between our NZ departure, and when I actually had a stove again, that I sorta lost my zeal for trying to make them. But I think the zeal has returned. I sense a baking project coming on….

      Reply
      1. erica

        Yessssss! Let me know how they turn out, otherwise I’ll mail you some. Then you just whack them in the oven for a few minutes and pretend you made them 🙂

        Reply
  4. Kristen L

    I LOVE TimTams!! They are amazing. If you bite off the ends and use it as a “straw” in your hot chocolate, they are to die for. I think they sell them at Target in the US.

    Reply
    1. Holly KN Post author

      Whoa. That is ~100x better than the idea of using a Twizzler as a straw (I don’t like Twizzlers). I think I need some hot chocolate…and some Tim Tams, as my package is now empty. (How on earth did that happen?!?!)

      Reply
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