Category Archives: foodie

30 Minute Cookin’ with Celebrity Chef Eric Teo and Panasonic

A few weeks back, I was invited by Panasonic Singapore to do a sharing session on food photography and blogging at celebrity Chef Eric Teo’s Studio in Henderson.

Group photo
Group photo
A glimpse of Chef Eric Teo's work station
A glimpse of Chef Eric Teo’s work station
Media coverages on Chef Teo adorned the wall of his studio
Media coverages on Chef Teo adorned the wall of his studio
Some of Chef Teo's various award wins and trophies
Some of Chef Teo’s various award wins and trophies
Chef Teo's super bling bling robe
Chef Teo’s super bling bling robe

If you are interested to find out more on my presentation, the deck is available here (Food Photography and Blogging Basics from Alvin Lim):

Other than me sharing on photography tips using the awesome Panasonic Lumix GX7, the highlight of the day was the cooking demonstration by Chef Teo:

Chef Teo at work
Chef Teo at work
Chef Teo frying the mushrooms
Chef Teo frying the mushrooms
Chef Teo plating
Chef Teo plating
Chef Eric Teo's mixed mushroom fried with beer batter
Chef Eric Teo’s mixed mushroom fried with beer batter
Take pictures!
Take pictures!
Black tofu from black soya beans
Black tofu from black soya beans
Pouring the blended black tofu into little cups
Pouring the blended black tofu into little cups
Cooking prawns
Cooking prawns
Chef Teo working on scallops
Chef Teo working on scallops
It's just stir-fried seafood and red pepper, but Chef Teo cooked them so beautifully everyone present could not wait to taste them
It’s just stir-fried seafood and red pepper, but Chef Teo cooked them so beautifully everyone present could not wait to taste them
Adding the seafood into the tofu cups
Adding the seafood into the tofu cups
Chef Eric Teo's black tofu with seafood
Chef Eric Teo’s black tofu with seafood – my favourite dish for the day 
Moving on to the last dish - sambal fried rice
Moving on to the last dish – sambal fried rice
Chef Teo joked that experts only add the eggs right at the end
Chef Teo joked that experts only add the eggs right at the end
Close-up on the beautiful rice grains
Close-up on the beautiful rice grains
Plating the fried rice
Plating the fried rice
Chef Eric Teo's sambal fried rice
Chef Eric Teo’s sambal fried rice

You can view all the photos I took at the event with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 in this public facebook album.

The event was organised by local production company, Rolleyes. Teaming up with six renowned local chefs, Rolleyes seeks to make gourmet home cooking a reality for their viewers through their new 30 Minute Cookin’ series:

In each episode, viewers are shown how to achieve two to three-course meals within 30 minutes. Chef Teo’s demonstration is as part of this programme.

Visit 30 Minute Cookin' for more details
Visit 30 Minute Cookin’ for more details

You can watch Chef Teo’s cooking demonstrations as well as more from other  renowned chefs via the official website for 30 Minute Cookin’. 🙂

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Early Lunar New Year Dinner with Park Hotel Group (百樂酒店集團)

A few weeks earlier, Rachel and I attended a Chinese New Year tasting session at Park Palace (樂宮) Restaurant,Grand Park City Hall.

The tasting menu
The tasting menu

We get to sampled some of their signature dishes, specially prepared for the festive season, including their Imperial Five Treasures Golden Shunde Yu Sheng (S$888++) which impressed us the most.

The chef preparing the yu sheng layout
The chef preparing the yu sheng layout

The S$888 price tag is pretty steep, but you pay for the best. The luxurious dish boasts five prized treasures of the sea – Abalone, Lobster, Geoduck Clam, Salmon and Hamachi, topped with Caviar and Fish Roe plated in the shape of cherry blossoms – representing the blossoming and reaping of fruits of success in the new year.

Adding gold flakes
Adding gold flakes
The lobster looks on...
The lobster looks on…

In place of the traditional salad of radish, carrots, pickled ginger and pomelo, crispy fried vermicelli is meticulously arranged in the shape of cherry blossoms, and vibrantly embellished with slender slices of ginger, spring onions, crunchy capsicums, finely grounded peanuts as well as crispy silver fish for that extra crunch.

The table is set for tossing!
The table is set for tossing!

This culinary treat is tossed in a special concoction of fragrant peanut oil and premium soya sauce – boasting a refreshing twist with none of the cloying sweetness that may overwhelm the palate, while allowing the freshness and original taste of the seafood and vegetables to shine through. A feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds – this exquisite offering was heavenly!

Adding the seafood
Adding the seafood
Ready?
Ready?
And here we go!!!
And here we go!!!
Ready to eat (these were nicely plated and sent to our tables by the wait staff)
Ready to eat (these were nicely plated and sent to our tables by the wait staff)

I love yu sheng and it is the one dish that I really look forward to every Chinese New Year. I have sampled lots of yu sheng, from the most traditional to east-meet-west fusions and  this is one of the best so far.

Is your taste-buds and five senses titillated?

Note that order of the Imperial Five Treasures Golden Shunde Yu Sheng must be made at least seven days in advance.

For a less extravagant experience, Park Palace also offers a Hamachi & Silver Fish Golden Shunde Yu Sheng  (S$88++), featuring two types of fishes.

Another dish we sampled was the Auspicious Harvest Pen Cai with Nourishing Pig Trotters. This dish is available in two sizes: S$298nett (6 pax) or S$488nett (10 pax).

Fortune-filled Reunion Pen Cai with Pig Trotters
Fortune-filled Reunion Pen Cai with Pig Trotters

Pen Cai are perfect for family dining.

The Pen Cai at Park Palace takes more than five hours to simmer in the stove and features three layers of 18 luxuriant ingredients and decadent flavours served communal-style in a festive casserole hot pot.

Overflowing with good stuff...
Overflowing with good stuff…

Other than Pig Trotters, this pot of prosperity is also replete with Sliced Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Whole Conpoy, Prawn Balls, Roasted Duck, Roasted Pork Belly, Soya Chicken, Fatt Choy, Black Mushroom, Lotus Root, Broccoli, Radish, Beancurd Skin, Gingko Nut and Black Fungus with quality stock in a casserole pot.

First of three servings I had from the Pen Cai
First of three servings I had from the Pen Cai

A la carte
$270++ (Six persons)
$443++ (10 persons)

Takeaway
$298nett (Six persons)
$488nett (10 persons)

Other dishes we tried:

Imperial Whole Roasted Suckling Pig
Imperial Whole Roasted Suckling Pig
I love their suckling pig - good stuff!
I love their suckling pig – good stuff!
Oven-baked Imperial Sucking Pig with Lemongrass
Oven-baked Imperial Sucking Pig with Lemongrass
Double-boiled Pot of Fortune with Superior Shark's Fin, Chicken and Wanton
Double-boiled Pot of Fortune with Superior Shark’s Fin, Chicken and Wanton
Auspicious Lobster Gems in Dual Style
Auspicious Lobster Gems in Dual Style
Half of the lobster is sautéed with lily bulbs, wood fungus and asparagus while the other half is deep-fried with cheese
Half of the lobster is sautéed with lily bulbs, wood fungus and asparagus while the other half is deep-fried with cheese
Fried Durian Prawns of Happiness and Abundance (presented by Open House, Grand Park Orchard)
Fried Durian Prawns of Happiness and Abundance (presented by Open House, Grand Park Orchard)
Close-up of the prawn - this dish is unique and is definitely a conversation opener, but I found the durian sort of covered the taste of everything else. Durian lovers should love this though.
Close-up of the prawn – this dish is unique and is definitely a conversation opener, but I found the strong durian fragrance covered the taste of  everything. Durian lovers should love this though.
Prosperous Eight Treasures Lotus Leaf Rice (Presented by Brizo Restaurant & Bar, Park Hotel Clark Quay)
Prosperous Eight Treasures Lotus Leaf Rice (Presented by Brizo Restaurant & Bar, Park Hotel Clark Quay)
Close-up of the rice
Close-up of the rice
Golden Ingots of Fortune - Crispy Puree Durian Fritters served with a side of fruit cocktail
Golden Ingots of Fortune – Crispy Puree Durian Fritters served with a side of fruit cocktail
Close-up of the ingot
Close-up of the ingot
Crispy on the outside, juicy in the centre - nice
Crispy on the outside, juicy in the centre – nice

Here are the Chinese New Year dining options available at Park Palace:

Auspicious Harvest Pen Cai Set Dinner (Grand Ballroom)
30 January
S$558++ (for six persons)
comprising Auspicious Harvest Pen Cai with Pig Trotters, Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng, Braised Shark Fin’s Broth with Fish Maw & Crab Meat, Steamed Live Soon Hock with Light Soya Sauce, Stewed Ee-fu Noodles with Chives, Chilled Mango Cream with Sago & Pomelo, Pan-fried Nian Gao with Shredded Coconut.

S$858++ (for 10 persons)
comprising Auspicious Harvest Pen Cai with Pig Trotters, Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng, Braised Shark Fin’s Broth with Dried Assorted Seafood & Bamboo Piths, Steamed Live Sea Garoupa with Light Soya Sauce, Fried Glutinious Rice with Preserved Meat & Chinese Sausage, Chilled Apricot with Sea Coconut, Almond Seeds & Red Dates, Pan-fried Nian Gao with Shredded Coconut.

Lunar New Year Prosperity Set Menus
Eight different Set Menus available:

    • S$78++ per person (a maximum of two persons)
    • S$288++ per table of four
    • S$438++ per table of six
    • S$588++ per table of eight
    • S$788++ to $2388++* per table of 10

*Orders to be made at least one day in advance
* Enjoy a complimentary bottle of house wine per table with booking of ten tables or more (ten pax per table)

Speciality Dishes : Double-boiled Pot of Fortune with Superior Shark’s Fin, Chicken & Wanton; Auspicious Lobster Gems in Dual Style – Live Lobster sautéed with Fresh Lily Bulbs, Asparagus & Wolfberries, surrounded with Deep-fried Cheese Lobster Balls; Durian Ingots of Good Fortune; Spicy Crispy Chicken with Garlic; Roasted Whole Suckling Pig; and many more.

Takeaway options for those who prefer to dine at home:

For enquiries and reservations, please call 6432 5543 or email parkpalace.gpch@parkhotelgroup.com.

GRAND PARK CITY HALL
10 Coleman Street Singapore 179809 Tel: (65) 6432 5888
Park Palace (樂宮) Restaurant, Level 2

Winners for Grimbergen Christmas Gift Sets Giveaway

And the three lucky winners for my Grimbergen Christmas Gift Sets Giveaway are:

Congratulations to Lucas Lam, Wesley Lim Yipeng and Tan Keith! The PR for Grimbergen beer will be contacting you shortly on the prize collection details.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Remember, do stay tuned to Alvinology.com for more giveaway to come for this festive period!

Grimbergen Christmas Gift Sets Giveaway!

Celebrate Christmas in style with Grimbergen Belgian abbey beers! 

In partnership with Grimbergen, I will be giving away 3 x Grimbergen Christmas Gifts Sets that are not for sale anywhere:

If you are above 18 years old and am interested to grab one of these gift sets, simply LIKE my Facebook page or FOLLOW me on Twitter and message me with your email, name, age and contact number by 19 Dec (this Friday), 7pm.

Included in the gift set are three different brews from Grimbergen:

The La Blanche, a classic white beer, delights and revitalizes with its creamy texture and fruity aromas. The subtle zest of spices and bergamot makes it particularly refreshing and a great hit at any luxury Christmas party.

The La Blonde is a top fermented beer, boasting a perfect blend of sweet and bitter, and its subtle hints of spices tantalize and captivate. It is round and harmonious in the mouth, leaving a slightly fruity taste that goes well with the season to be jolly.

The La Double Ambrée is a generous beer with a dark robe. With an intriguing blend of different malts, it is rich, deep and ample in the mouth. Born from double fermentation, astute palates will be able to distinguish the refined notes of caramel.

Merry Christmas everyone (and stay tuned to Alvinology.com for more giveaways)!

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) @ Tai Thong Crescent

Gu Ma Jia at Tai Thong Crescent
Gu Ma Jia at Tai Thong Crescent

I was drawn to Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) by the homely name of the restaurant. Translated as “auntie’s home”, the name evokes warmth and brings to mind, home-cooked food.

The restaurant is within walking distance from my parents’ place at Potong Pasir, the small town where I grew up and lived for over 30 years before I moved out to start my own family.

Me with
Me with “Gu Ma”, the restaurant owner

While I had many meals in the area where Gu Ma Jia is located, I did not notice the restaurant previously till the recent rebranding. The restaurant has been there for over four years, enjoying brisk business. Maybe it just got overshadowed by the more famous Ser Seng (Herbs) Turtle Soup and Hoe Nam Prawn Noodles.

Here are the dishes I sampled at Gu Ma Jia:

亚叁鱼头 Assam Fish Head (S$28)
亚叁鱼头 Assam Fish Head (S$28)
豆茄双脆 Crispy Bean-Jal (S$12, S$18)
豆茄双脆 Crispy Bean-Jal (S$12, S$18)
京都排骨 Kyoto Pork Ribs (S$20)
京都排骨 Kyoto Pork Ribs (S$20)
灵芝菇扒豆腐 Ling Zhi Mushroom Bean Curd (S$12, S$24)
灵芝菇扒豆腐 Ling Zhi Mushroom Bean Curd (S$12, S$24)
白胡椒螃蟹 White Pepper Crab (Seasonal Price)
白胡椒螃蟹 White Pepper Crab (Seasonal Price)
鸳鸯芥兰 Kai Lan 2 Styles (Yuan Yang) (S$10, S$15, S$20)
鸳鸯芥兰 Kai Lan 2 Styles (Yuan Yang) (S$10, S$15, S$20)
蜂蜜酸柑爱玉冰 Ice Jelly with Lime & Honey; 黑糯米 (冷/热) Black Glutinous Rice; 姑妈糖水 (冷/热) Auntie's Dessert (all at S$3.50 each)
蜂蜜酸柑爱玉冰 Ice Jelly with Lime & Honey; 黑糯米 (冷/热) Black Glutinous Rice; 姑妈糖水 (冷/热) Auntie’s Dessert (all at S$3.50 each)

Their signature dishes include their assam fish head and white pepper crabs. I love the assam fish head very much and will highly recommend it. The sweet and sour blend is just right. It is a tad spicy, but not too spicy to burn your tongue or cover the aroma of the fresh fish head.

Prices are pretty reasonable and you get to enjoy quality zi char food in an air-conditioned environment.

Restaurant interior
Restaurant interior

If you are interested to find out more about Gu Ma Jia, visit their official website or their Facebook page.

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

Address: Sennett Estate, 45 Tai Thong Crescent
Phone: +65-62852023
Hours: Daily, 11.00am – 10.00pm

Online food delivery portal FoodPanda comes to Singapore

Online food delivery service is not new in Singapore, what is important is the variety of food offering and the assurance of quality service.

FoodPanda is an online food delivery portal which delivers food from various local restaurants, right to your doorstep. They are currently operating in 30 countries worldwide, including Singapore and is founded by Rocket Internet, the same company behind online shopping site, Zalora.

Sick of the usual fast food delivery options? Why not try ordering from FoodPanda for a variety of international cuisines from a slew of local restaurants?

Welcome to FoodPanda
Welcome to FoodPanda

I just made a dinner order on FoodPanda last night and was pretty satisfied with their service.

There is a variety of different cuisines available on FoodPanda, ranging from Italian to Japanese to Indian. I had a craving for briyani last night and was very happy to see a few Indian restaurants which deliver to my home.

I made the order at around 7pm from my office. The estimated delivery time was indicated as 70 minutes and the charges were all reflected upfront, with no hidden costs:

Browsing through the menu for Aromas of India
Browsing through the menu for Aromas of India

My wife texted me at around 7.30pm to inform me that the delivery has been made. Love it. Fuss-free and easy to use. Dinner is just a few clicks away with FoodPanda.

The total bill from Aromas of India restaurant came to S$28.27. Food cost was S$25.70 with an additional 10% (S$2.57) service fee. There is no 7% GST.

My order
My order

Here was how my order looks like when it came:

A salad, mutton briyani and chicken briyani to share between two pax
A salad, mutton briyani and chicken briyani to share between two pax
Salad to share
Salad to share
Chicken briyani
Chicken briyani
Mutton briyani
Mutton briyani

The portal also offers periodic discounts and alerts, much like many of the online coupon websites, except that they will be tempting you with food offerings exclusively.

FoodPanda is also available on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.

I had a good experience ordering from FoodPanda and will do so again.

Champagne & Croissants Brunch at Ô Batignolles @ Gemmil Lane

French bistro Ô Batignolles introduced a brand new weekend brunch menu to celebrate their first year anniversary this September. The brunch menu, ‘Champagne & Croissants’ features a range of new dishes typical of Paris, with the decadent addition of free-flow Champagne.

Champagne & Croissants at Ô Batignolles
Champagne & Croissants at Ô Batignolles

Ô Batignolles is located at 2 Gemmil Lane, off Club Street in the CBD area. It is a good place to people watch with an eclectic mix of people strolling by. When I was there the previous weekend with Rachel and Asher, we spotted curious tourists with tell-tale maps, weekend cyclists and elderly Singaporeans from the nearby old HDB estates.

Good spot to people watch
Good spot to people watch

The Champagne & Croissants brunch menu is priced at S$89++. Guests get to indulge in a range of patisserie, including Blueberry Pancakes, French nursery favourite Brioche with Nutella or a classic basket of Pain au Chocolat and Butter Croissant served with Bonne Maman preserves. The brunch continues with a second course of eggs prepared ‘in every way’, all served with a lightly dressed green salad. Choices include Eggs ‘Cocotte’ with bacon and cream served in individual ramekins with toasted bread, and Eggs Benedict, poached on English muffins with ham and a rich hollandaise sauce. The set menu includes a choice of tea, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Here are what Rachel, Asher and I ate from the Champagne & Croissants brunch menu:

The set menu starts off with some fresh bread and champagne
The set menu starts off with some fresh bread and champagne
The croissants were light and fluffy, served with home made jams
The croissants were light and fluffy, served with home made jams
Authentic french toasts
Authentic french toasts
Blueberry pancakes
Blueberry pancakes
Eggs with parma ham for me
Eggs with parma ham for me
Eggs with smoked salmon for Rachel
Eggs with smoked salmon for Rachel

“We have created a menu which offers a real taste of Paris with the tempting addition of free-flow champagne to allow all our guests to celebrate our first anniversary with us. We were inspired to create ‘Champagne & Croissants’ by our favourite weekend spots in Paris – the bustling street cafés which invite guests to linger and relax over food and wine with friends.” Said Antoine Rouland, one of the owner at Ô Batignolles.

We enjoy the cosy, friendly cafe environment
We enjoyed the cosy, friendly cafe environment

Yveline Prat brut Champagne is the champagne chosen by the owners to accompany the brunch menu. A light champagne with fine bubbles, known for its floral notes and toasted aromas, it is a perfect pairing with the brunch menu. Rachel like the champagne because she finds it light and smooth, not overbearing for an early meal.

Rachel enjoying her champagne while Asher enjoyed his lemon water from home
Rachel enjoying her champagne while Asher enjoyed his lemon water from home

Rachel and I had a good experience dining at Ô Batignolles. One suggestion when ordering is to swap the order of the egg dish with the patisserie. For Singaporeans, we may be more used to eating a savory dish followed by something sweet than the other way round.

The full set brunch menu is very filling. Hence go with an empty stomach.

For family with young kids, note that Ô Batignolles do not have baby chairs, but Asher was welcomed there and the service was exemplary.

Champagne and Croissants Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 3.30pm. For those who prefer a non-alcoholic weekend brunch, Champagne & Croissants is also available with soft drinks for only S$29++. A la carte menu is also available starting from S$8++.

Guests can also choose to supplement the set menu with additional a la carte menu items, which include Fromage Blanc aux Fruits Rouges – mixed berries with a creamy French yoghurt, Croque Monsieur – the indulgent ham, cheese and béchamel sandwich favourite, alongside a range of salads, charcuterie and cheese boards. A la carte dishes are priced from S$8++ to S$28++. Champagne starts from S$68++ by the bottle, with wine by the bottle priced from S$39++.

About Ô Batignolles

Ô Batignolles was opened in September 2012 by Parisian-born Antoine and Marie Rouland who sought to recreate a typically French ‘village bistro’ with good food, a relaxed atmosphere, and most importantly, an extensive and diverse selection of wine.

Committed to variety and affordability, Ô Batignolles has a wide selection of 14 French wines by the glass, priced from S$7-S$12: six white, six red, a Provencal rosé and a house champagne, all of which have been personally chosen by Antoine. Much of the carefully curated wine list is exclusively available to Ô Batignolles in Singapore, thanks to the personal relationships Antoine and Marie have cultivated with independent vineyards, and from whom they import directly into Singapore.

Address: 2 Gemmil Lane
Phone: +65-6438-3913 
Hours:
Mon – Fri: 12:00 – 00:00
Sat: 11:00 – 00:00
Sun: 11:00 – 19:00