Sunday, August 8, 2010

Warning: Extreme Gluttony ahead!

Do not read this post with an empty stomach…you’ll be heading to the fridge in a very short while. In my quest for good food near and far, I’ve ‘researched’ on 2 restaurants : Sushi Tei in Holland and Ivins, a Peranakan place in Upper Thomson Road.

I wonder if I should really write about the omnipresent Japanese franchise stores (the ranks of Sakae Sushi, Sushi Kin, etc) but I’ve been to ST only twice and I liked the fuss-free food so far.

My theme of the day was raw food, a.k.a sashimi and I wasn’t disappointed. I had salmon with tapioca, followed by a platter of sushi and more sashimi. However, not long after that, I remembered this idea of mercury poisoning and how we are supposed to avoid most seafood, especially oily fish and shellfish.

So, my days with salmon, cod, halibut, haddock are (almost) over. Although I think grouper and pomfret are supposed to be ok..time to find out more. Anyhow, low level of mercury in our body is not too bad…until unless u find that you have poor memory in what we call ‘mercury fog’. That’s when we have to take action and go for massive reduction of all possible mercury-contaminated foodstuff.

In the meantime, time to sample more goodies as we head to Upper Thomson Road for some big-time, authentic Peranakan food. Aside from the must-have Ayam Buah Keluak, we had a lot of other goodies.

By the way, if you are not from this part of the world, you must try this buah keluak thingy. The hard, somehow ugly fruit with black shells belies the most ‘meaty’ and flavoursome fruit ever, to the point that we use skewers to force the soft ‘innards’ out of the fruit, after we gobbled up the chicken and the accompanying gravy.

The prawns are least they were fresh. The gravy is tasty but pales in comparison to the other dish.On the other hand, I love the fried, stuffed tofu. I have this fixation for soft snow-white tofu. Apparently, it’s the secret why some Japanese women never have menopausal symptoms and it’s good for the skin. But I digress. Back to the aromatic world of Peranakan cuisine.

If you want to know more about Peranakan cuisine, there are actually lotsa books about the Baba and Nyonya culture. The longest lineage of Peranakan people are found in Malacca, followed by Penang and Singapore. Do you know why they are different from the rest of the races in Malaysian and Singapore?

Their origins dated back to the era of the great Malaccan sultanate when some Chinese people that accompanied Princess Hang Li Poh settled in, these people from China are here the longest, among the many dialects, some of them marrying the local Malays and adopting their culture. That’s why most Nyonya wear traditional Malay sarongs and speak only Malay, although they look like Chinese. They prefer to populate the Straits Settlement and at one time, they were the richest and most influential overseas Chinese around. Alright, history lesson's over!

Therefore, the Peranakan food a.k.a Nyonya food is a type of fusion culinary experience…spicy Malay mixed with Chinese ingredients. Like the tofu and vege amidst the rendangs and the curries. I’ve always liked Nyonya cooking.

Oh, back to food in front of me in real-time. I really relished the experience in this place…loved the meatballs and bamboo soup soup, beef rendang, ayam buah keluak and tofu while as usual, I really don’t fancy the extremely soft vegetable boiled for hours..reminding of the another famous ‘national’ dish – boiled cabbage. I realized that we didn’t order the babi pongteh…next time then.

So, what’s the shiok-o-meter of Ivins? Will I come again? I would say, I give it a 7/10. And I will definitely come again. Proof: the long queue outside the restaurant as we left the place. Boy, we are glad that we are early :-)

As for ST, I give it a 6/10 and I will go again as it’s near enough and the food is actually better than a lot of other Japanese chain store,i.e mass-produced eateries found in Singapore and Malaysia.

However, discovered that running is better after good food. Ran with extra vigour today (maybe it's my regenerated body, mind and spirit). That' how I know that I am back to my usual self again.

So, what's up for the rest of this long National Day weekend? More work in store as the A & E is running at full strength while a lot of clinics are closed. The saving grace is that most people are out of town, thus we could actually have a proper lunch break alas. Hallelujah!

So, looking forward to more post from me in the near future? You betcha! Hang on for more pictures of good food from this CPD :-) Travel safely wherever you go and...

Take care!

By the way, dinner courtesy of M and her ever-hospitable and welcoming family members. I am indeed blessed to know them!

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